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The First Complete and Authorised English Translation 









First Edition, One Thousand 
Five Hundred Copies, pub- 
lished September igio 

Second Reprint of Twelve 

Hundred and Fifty Copies, 

reprinted 191 5 

Of the Third Reprint of 

One Thousand Five Hundred 

Copies this is 

. 3743 











/ stay to mine own house confined. 
Nor graft my wits on alien stock: 

And mock at every master mind 
That never at itself could mock. 




First published . September 1910 

Reprinted 1914 

Reprinted 1924 



{All rights reserved) 

Printed in Great Britain hy 



Editorial Note page vii 

Preface to the Second Edition - - »» i 

Jest, Ruse, and Revenge : A Prelude in 

Rhyme „ n 

Book First „ 29 

Book Second „ 93 

Book Third - - - - - - „ 149 

Book Fourth: Sanctus J anuarius - - „ 211 

Book Fifth: We Fearless Ones - „ 273 

Appendix : Songs of Prince Free-as-a-Bird „ 355 


"The Joyful Wisdom," written in 1882, just before 
" Zarathustra," is rightly judged to be one of 
Nietzsche's best books. Here the essentially grave 
and masculine face of the poet-philosopher is seen 
to light up and suddenly break into a delightful 
smile. The warmth and kindness that beam from 
his features will astonish those hasty psychologists 
who have never divined that behind the destroyer 
is the creator, and behind the blasphemer the lover 
of life. In the retrospective valuation of his work 
which appears in " Ecce Homo " the author him- 
self observes with truth that the fourth book, 
"Sanctus Januarius," deserves especial attention: 
"The whole book is a gift from the Saint, and 
the introductory verses express my gratitude for 
the most wonderful month of January that I have 
ever spent." Book fifth " We Fearless Ones," 
the Appendix " Songs of Prince Free-as-a-Bird," 
and the Preface, were added to the second edition 
in 1887. 

The translation of Nietzsche's poetry has proved 


to be a more embarrassing problem than that of 
his prose. Not only has there been a difficulty in 
finding adequate translators — a difficulty overcome, 
it is hoped, by the choice of Miss Petre and Mr 
Cohn, — but it cannot be denied that even in the 
original the poems are of unequal merit. By the 
side of such masterpieces as " To the Mistral " are 
several verses of comparatively little value. The 
Editor, however, did not feel justified in making a 
selection, as it was intended that the edition should 
be complete. The heading, "Jest, Ruse and 
Revenge," of the "Prelude in Rhyme" is borrowed 
from Goethe. 



Perhaps more than one preface would be necessary 
for this book; and after all it might still be doubtful 
whether any one could be brought nearer to the 
experiences in it by means of prefaces, without 
having himself experienced something similar. It 
seems to be written in the language of the thawing- 
wind : there is wantonness, restlessness, contra- 
diction and April-weather in it ; so that one is 
as constantly reminded of the proximity of winter as 
of the victory over it : the victory which is coming, 
which must come, which has perhaps already 
come. . . . Gratitude continually flows forth, as 
if the most unexpected thing had happened, the 
gratitude of a convalescent — for convalescence was 
this most unexpected thing. " Joyful Wisdom " : 
that implies the Saturnalia of a spirit which has 
patiently withstood a long, frightful pressure — 
patiently, strenuously, impassionately, without 
submitting, but without hope — and which is now 
suddenly o'erpowered with hope, the hope of 
health, the intoxication of convalescence. What 
wonder that much that i« unreasonable and 
foolish thereby comes to light : much wanton 
tenderness expended even on problems which 


have a prickly hide, and are not therefore fit to be 
fondled and allured. The whole book is really 
nothing but a revel after long privation and im- 
potence : the frolicking of returning energy, of 
newly awakened belief in a to-morrow and after- 
to-morrow ; of sudden sentience and prescience of 
a future, of near adventures, of seas open once 
more, and aims once more permitted and believed 
in. And what was now all behind me! This 
track of desert, exhaustion, unbelief, and frigidity 
in the midst of youth, this advent of grey 
hairs at the wrong time, this tyranny of pain, 
surpassed, however, by the tyranny of pride which 
repudiated the consequences of pain — and conse- 
quences are comforts, — this radical isolation, as 
defence against the contempt of mankind become 
morbidly clairvoyant, this restriction upon principle 
to all that is bitter, sharp, and painful in knowledge, 
as prescribed by the disgust which had gradually 
resulted from imprudent spiritual diet and pamper- 
ing — it is called Romanticism, — oh, who could 
realise all those feelings of mine ! He, however, 
who could do so would certainly forgive me 
everything, and more than a little folly, boisterous- 
ness and " Joyful Wisdom " — for example, the 
handful of songs which are given along with 
the book on this occasion, — songs in which a poet 
makes merry over all poets in a way not easily 
pardoned. — Alas, it is not only on the poets 
and their fine " lyrical sentiments " that this 
reconvalescent must vent his malignity : who knows 
what kind of victim he seeks, what kind of monster 
of material for parody will allure him ere long? 


Incipit tragcedia, it is said at the conclusion of this 
seriously frivolous book; let people be on their 
guard ! Something or other extraordinarily bad 
and wicked announces itself: incipit parodia^ there 
is no doubt. . . 


— But let us leave Herr Nietzsche ; what does it 
matter to people that Herr Nietzsche has got well 
again ? . . . A psychologist knows few questions 
so attractive as those concerning the relations of 
health to philosophy, and in the case when he 
himself falls sick, he carries with him all his 
scientific curiosity into his sickness. For, granting 
that one is a person, one has necessarily also the 
philosophy of one's personality; there is, however, an 
important distinction here. With the one it is his 
defects which philosophise, with the other it is his 
riches and powers. The former requires his philo- 
sophy, whether it be as support, sedative, or 
medicine, as salvation, elevation, or self-alienation ; 
with the latter it is merely a fine luxury, at best 
the voluptuousness of a triumphant gratitude, which 
must inscribe itself ultimately in cosmic capitals 
on the heaven of ideas. In the other more usual 
case, however, when states of distress occupy them- 
selves with philosophy (as is the case with all sickly 
thinkers— and perhaps the sickly thinkers pre- 
ponderate in the history of philosophy), what will 
happen to the thought itself which is brought 
under the pressure of sickness ? This is the im- 
portant question for psychologists : and here 
experiment is possible. We philosophers do just 


like a traveller who resolves to awake at a given 
hour, and then quietly yields himself to sleep : we 
surrender ourselves temporarily, body and soul, to 
the sickness, supposing we become ill — we shut, as 
it were, our eyes on ourselves. And as the traveller 
knows that something does not sleep, that something 
counts the hours and will awake him, we also know 
that the critical moment will find us awake — that 
then something will spring forward and surprise 
the spirit in the very act, I mean in weakness, or 
reversion, or submission, or obduracy, or obscurity, 
or whatever the morbid conditions are called, which 
in times of good health have the pride of the spirit 
opposed to them (for it is as in the old rhyme: 
" The spirit proud, peacock and horse are the three 
proudest things of earthly source"). After such 
self-questioning and self-testing, one learns to look 
with a sharper eye at all that has hitherto been 
philosophised ; one divines better than before the 
arbitrary by-ways, side-streets, resting-places, and 
sunny places of thought, to which suffering thinkers, 
precisely as sufferers, are led and misled : one 
knows now in what direction the sickly body and 
its requirements unconsciously press, push, and 
allure the spirit — towards the sun, stillness, gentle- 
ness, patience, medicine, refreshment in any sense 
whatever. Every philosophy which puts peace 
higher than war, every ethic with a negative grasp 
of the idea of happiness, every metaphysic and 
physic that knows a finale, an ultimate condition 
of any kind whatever, every predominating, aesthetic 
or religious longing for an aside, a beyond, an out- 
side, an above — all these permit one to ask whether 


sickness has not been the motive which inspired the 
philosopher. The unconscious disguising of physio- 
logical requirements under the cloak of the objective, 
the ideal, the purely spiritual, is carried on to an 
alarming extent, — and I have often enough asked 
myself, whether on the whole philosophy hitherto 
has not generally been merely an interpreta- 
tion of the body, and a misunderstanding of the 
body. Behind the loftiest estimates of value by 
which the history of thought has hitherto been 
governed, misunderstandings of the bodily constitu- 
tion, either of individuals, classes, or entire races 
are concealed. One may always primarily consider 
these audacious freaks of metaphysic, and especially 
its answers to the question of the worth of existence, 
as symptoms of certain bodily constitutions; and if, 
on the whole, when scientifically determined, not a 
particle of significance attaches to such affirma- 
tions and denials of the world, they nevertheless 
furnish the historian and psychologist with hints 
so much the more valuable (as we have said) as 
symptoms of the bodily constitution, its good or bad 
condition, its fullness, powerfulness, and sovereignty 
in history ; or else of its obstructions, exhaustions, 
and impoverishments, its premonition of the end, 
its will to the end. I still expect that a philo- 
sophical physician, in the exceptional sense of the 
word — one who applies himself to the problem of 
the collective health of peoples, periods, races, and 
mankind generally — will some day have the courage 
to follow out my suspicion to its ultimate con- 
clusions, and to venture on the judgment that in 
all philosophising it has not hitherto been a question 


of " truth " at all, but of something else, — namely, 
of health, futurity, growth, power, life. . . . 

It will be surmised that I should not like to take 
leave ungratefully of that period of severe sickness, 
the advantage of which is not even yet exhausted 
in me : for I am sufficiently conscious of what I 
have in advance of the spiritually robust generally, 
in my changeful state of health. A philosopher 
who has made the tour of many states of 
health, and always makes it anew, has also gone 
through just as many philosophies : he really 
cannot do otherwise than transform his condition 
on every occasion into the most ingenious posture 
and position, — this art of transfiguration is just 
philosophy. We philosophers are not at liberty 
to separate soul and body, as the people separate 
them ; and we are still less at liberty to separate 
soul and spirit. We are not thinking frogs, we 
are not objectifying and registering apparatuses 
with cold entrails, — our thoughts must be continu- 
ally born to us out of our pain, and we must, 
motherlike, share with them all that we have in 
us of blood, heart, ardour, joy, passion, pang, 
conscience, fate and fatality. Life — that means 
for us to transform constantly into light and flame 
all that we are, and also all that we meet with ; 
we cannot possibly do otherwise. And as regards 
sickness, should we not be almost tempted to ask 
whether we could in general dispense with it ? It 
is great pain only which is the ultimate emancipa- 
tor of the spirit ; for it is the teacher of the strong 


suspicion which makes an X out of every U*, a true, 
correct X, i.e., the ante-penultimate letter. ... It is 
great pain only, the long slow pain which takes 
time, by which we are burned as it were with 
green wood, that compels us philosophers to de- 
scend into our ultimate depths, and divest ourselves 
of all trust, all good-nature, veiling, gentleness, and 
averageness, wherein we have perhaps formerly 
installed our humanity. I doubt whether such 
pain " improves " us ; but I know that it deepens 
us. Be it that we learn to confront it with our 
pride, our scorn, our strength of will, doing like the 
Indian who, however sorely tortured, revenges him- 
self on his tormentor with his bitter tongue ; be it 
that we withdraw from the pain into the oriental 
nothingness— it is called Nirvana, — into mute, 
benumbed, deaf self-surrender, self-forgetfulness, 
and self-effacement : one emerges from such long, 
dangerous exercises in self-mastery as another being, 
with several additional notes of interrogation, and 
above all, with the will to question more than ever, 
more profoundly, more strictly, more sternly, more 
wickedly, more quietly than has ever been ques- 
tioned hitherto. Confidence in life is gone: life 
itself has become 2. problem. — Let it not be imagined 
that one ha.s necessarily become a hypochondriac 
thereby ! Even love of life is still possible — only 
one loves differently. It is the love of a woman 
of whom one is doubtful. . . . The charm, how- 
ever, of all that is problematic, the delight in the 

* This means literally to put the numeral X instead of the 
numeral V (formerly U) ; hence it means to double a number 
unfairly, to exaggerate, humbug, cheat.— Tr. 


X, is too great in those more spiritual and more 
spiritualised men, not to spread itself again and 
again like a clear glow over all the trouble of the 
problematic, over all the danger of uncertainty, 
and even over the jealousy of the lover. We know 
a new happiness. . . , 


Finally (that the most essential may not remain 
unsaid), one comes back out of such abysses, out 
of such severe sickness, and out of the sickness of 
strong suspicion — new-born, with the skin cast ; 
more sensitive, more wicked, with a finer taste for 
joy, with a more delicate tongue for all good 
things, with a merrier disposition, with a second 
and more dangerous innocence in joy ; more 
childish at the same time, and a hundred times 
more refined than ever before. Oh, how re- 
pugnant to us now is pleasure, coarse, dull, drab 
pleasure, as the pleasure-seekers, our "cultured" 
classes, our rich and ruling classes, usually under- 
stand it ! How malignantly we now listen to the 
great holiday-hubbub with which "cultured people" 
and city-men at present allow themselves to be 
forced to " spiritual enjoyment " by art, books, and 
music, with the help of spirituous liquors! How 
the theatrical cry of passion now pains our ear, how 
strange to our taste has all the romantic riot and 
sensuous bustle which the cultured populace love 
become (together with their aspirations after the 
exalted, the elevated, and the intricate)! No, if 
we convalescents need an art at all, it is another 
art — a mocking, light, volatile, divinely serene, 


divinely ingenious art, which blazes up like a clear 
flame, into a cloudless heaven ! Above all, an art 
for artists, only for artists! We at last know 
better what is first of all necessary >r zV— namely, 
cheerfulness, every kind of cheerfulness, my friends ! 
also as artists :— I should like to prove it. We now 
know something too well, we men of knowledge : 
oh, how well we are now learning to forget and not 
know, as artists ! And as to our future, we are not 
likely to be found again in the tracks of those 
Egyptian youths who at night make the temples 
unsafe, embrace statues, and would fain unveil, 
uncover, and put in clear light, everything which 
for good reasons is kept concealed.* No, we have 
got disgusted with this bad taste, this will to truth, 
to "truth at all costs," this youthful madness in 
the love of truth : we are now too experienced, too 
serious, too joyful, too singed, too profound for 
that. . . . We no longer believe that truth remains 
truth when the veil is withdrawn from it : we have 
lived long enough to believe this. At present we 
regard it as a matter of propriety not to be anxious 
either to see everything naked, or to be present at 
everything, or to understand and "know" everything. 
"Is it true that the good God is everywhere 
present ? " asked a little girl of her mother : " I 
think that is indecent " :— a hint to philosophers ! 
One should have more reverence for the shame- 
facedness with which nature has concealed herself 
behind enigmas and motley uncertainties. Per- 
haps truth is a woman who has reasons for not 

* An allusion to Schiller's poem : " The Veiled Image of 
Sais."— Tr. 


showing her reasons ? Perhaps her name is Baubo, 
to speak in Greek ? . . . Oh, those Greeks ! They 
knew how to live : for that purpose it is necessary to 
keep bravely to the surface, the fold and the skin ; 
to worship appearance, to believe in forms, tones, 
and words, in the whole Olympus of appearance ! 
Those Greeks were superficial — from profundity ! 
And are we not coming back precisely to this 
point, we dare-devils of the spirit, who have scaled 
the highest and most dangerous peak of contem- 
porary thought, and have looked around us from 
it, have looked down from it ? Are we not precisely 
in this respect — Greeks? Worshippers of forms, 
of tones, and of words? And precisely on that 
account — artists ? 

RuTA, near Genoa 
Autumn^ 1886. 





Venture, comrades, I implore you. 
On the fare I set before you, 
You will like it more to-morrow, 
Better still the following day : 
If yet more you're then requiring, 
Old success I'll find inspiring, 

And fresh courage thence will borrow 
Novel dainties to display. 


My Good Luck. 

Weary of Seeking had I grown, 
So taught myself the way to Find : 

Back by the storm I once was blown, 
But follow now, where drives the wind. 



Where you're standing, dig, dig out : 

Down below's the Well : 
Let them that walk in darkness shout 

" Down below— there's Hell ! " 





A. Was I ill ? and is it ended ? 
Pray, by what physician tended ? 
I recall no pain endured ! 

B. Now I know your trouble's ended : 
He that can forget, is cured. 

' 5. 

To the Virtuous. 

Let our virtues be easy and nimble-footed in 
Like unto Homer's verse ought they to come and 
to go. 


Worldly Wisdom. 

Stay not on level plain, 

Climb not the mount too high. 

But half-way up remain — 
The world you'll best descry ! 


Vademecum — Vadetecum. 

Attracted by my style and talk 
You'd follow, in my footsteps walk ? 
Follow yourself unswervingly. 
So — careful ! — shall you follow me. 



The Third Sloughing. 

My skin bursts, breaks for fresh rebirth, 

And new desires come thronging : 
Much I've devoured, yet for more earth 

The serpent in me's longing. 
'Twixt stone and grass I crawl once more. 

Hungry, by crooked ways. 
To eat the food I ate before. 

Earth-fare all serpents praise ! 

My Roses. 

My luck's good — I'd make yours fairer, 
(Good luck ever needs a sharer). 
Will you stop and pluck my roses ? 

Oft mid rocks and thorns you'll linger, 
Hide and stoop, suck bleeding iinger — 
Will you stop and pluck my roses ? 

For my good luck's a trifle vicious. 
Fond of teasing, tricks malicious — 
Will you stop and pluck my roses ? 


The Scorner. 

Many drops I waste and spill. 
So my scornful mood you curse : 
Who to brim his cup doth fill, 
Many drops must waste and spill- 
Yet he thinks the wine no worse. 



The Proverb Speaks. 
Harsh and gentle, fine and mean, 
Quite rare and common, dirty and clean, 
The fools' and the sages' go-between : 
All this I will be, this have been, 
Dove and serpent and swine, I ween ! 


To a Lover of Light. 
That eye and sense be not fordone 
E'en in the shade pursue the sun ! 

For Dancers. 
Smoothest ice, 
A paradise 
To him who is a dancer nice. • 

The Brave Man. 
A feud that knows not flaw nor break, 
Rather then patched-up friendship, take. 

Rust's needed : keenness will not satisfy ! 
" He is too young ! " the rabble loves to cry. 

" How shall I reach the top ? " No time 
For thus reflecting ! Start to climb ! 


The Man of Power Speaks. 
Ask never ! Cease that whining, pray ! 
Take without asking, take alway ! 

Narrow Souls. 
Narrow souls hate I like the devil, 
Souls wherein grows nor good nor evil. 


Accidentally a Seducer.* 
He shot an empty word 

Into the empty blue ; 
But on the way it met 

A woman whom it slew. 

For Consideration. 
A twofold pain is easier far to bear 
Than one : so now to suffer wilt thou dare ? 

Against Pride. 
Brother, to puff thyself up ne'er be quick : 
For burst thou shalt be by a tiny prick ! 


Man and Woman. 
" The woman seize, who to thy heart appeals ! " 
Man's motto : woman seizes not, but steals. 

* Translated by Miss M. D. Petre. 




If I explain my wisdom, surely 
'Tis but entangled more securely, 

I can't expound myself aright : 
But he that's boldly up and doing, 
His own unaided course pursuing, 

Upon my image casts more light 1 


A Cure for Pessimism. 

Those old capricious fancies, friend ! 
You say your palate naught can please, 
I hear you bluster, spit and wheeze. 

My love, my patience soon will end ! 

Pluck up your courage, follow me — 

Here's a fat toad ! Now then, don't blink. 
Swallow it whole, nor pause to think ! 

From your dyspepsia you'll be free ! 


A Request. 

Many men's minds 1 know full well, 
Yet what mine own is, cannot tell. 
I cannot see— my eye's too near— 
And falsely to myself appear. 
'Twould be to me a benefit 
Far from myself if I could sit, 
Less distant than my enemy, 


And yet my nearest friend's too nigh — 
'Twixt him and me, just in the middle 1 
What do I ask for ? Guess my riddle 


My Cruelty. 

I must ascend an hundred stairs, 
I must ascend : the herd declares 
I'm cruel : " Are we made of stone ? " 
I must ascend an hundred stairs : 
All men the part of stair disown. 


The Wanderer. 

" No longer path ! Abyss and silence chilling ! " 
Thy fault! To leave the path thou wast too 

willing ! 
Now comes the test ! Keep cool — eyes bright and 

clear ! 
Thou'rt lost for sure, if thou permittest — fear. 

Encouragement for Beginners. 

See the infant, helpless creeping — 

Swine around it grunt swine-talk — 
Weeping always, naught but weeping, 

Will it ever learn to walk ? 
Never fear ! Just wait, I swear it 

Soon to dance will be inclined, 
And this babe, when two legs bear it, 

Standing on its head you'll find. 



Planet Egoism. 

Did I not turn, a rolling cask, 
Ever about myself, I ask. 
How could I without burning run 
Close on the track of the hot sun ? 


The Neighbour. 

Too nigh, my friend my joy doth mar, 
I'd have him high above and far, 
Or how can he become my star ? 


The Disguised Saint. 

Lest we for thy bliss should slay thee, 
In devil's wiles thou dost array thee, 

Devil's wit and devil's dress. 
But in vain ! Thy looks betray thee 

And proclaim thy holiness. 

The Slave. 

A. He stands and listens : whence his pain? 
What smote his ears ? Some far refrain ? 
Why is his heart with anguish torn ? 

B. Like all that fetters once have worn. 
He always hears the clinking— chain ! 


The Lone One. 

I hate to follow and I hate to lead. 
Obedience ? no ! and ruling ? no, indeed ! 

Wouldst fearful be in others' sight ? 

Then e'en thyself thou must affright : 
The people but the Terror's guidance heed. 
I hate to guide myself, I hate the fray. 
Like the wild beasts I'll wander far afield. 

In Error's pleasing toils I'll roam 

Awhile, then lure myself back home, 
Back home, and — to my self-seduction yield. 

Seneca et hoc Genus omne. 

They write and write (quite maddening me) 
Their " sapient " twaddle airy, 
As if 'twere primum scribere^ 
Deinde philosophari. 


Yes ! I manufacture ice : 
Ice may help you to digest : 
If you had much to digest. 
How you would enjoy my ice ! 

Youthful Writings. 

My wisdom's A and final O 

Was then the sound that smote mine ear. 


Yet now it rings no longer so, 
My youth's eternal Ah ! and Oh 1 
Is now the only sound I hear.* 


In yonder region travelling, take good care ! 
An hast thou wit, then be thou doubly ware ! 
They'll smile and lure thee ; then thy limbs they'll 

Fanatics' country this where wits are rare ! 

The Pious One Speaks. 
God loves MS, for he made us, sent us here ! — 
" Man hath made God 1 " ye subtle ones reply. 
His handiwork he must hold dear, 
And what he made shall he deny ? 
There sounds the devil's halting hoof, I fear. 


In Summer. 
In sweat of face, so runs the screed, 

We e'er must eat our bread, 
Yet wise physicians if we heed 

" Eat naught in sweat," 'tis said. 
The dog-star's blinking : what's his need ? 

What tells his blazing sign ? 
In sweat of face (so runs his screed) 

We're meant to drink our wine 1 

* A and O, suggestive of Ah ! and Oh ! refer of course to 
Alpha and Omega, the first and last letters of the Greek 
alphabet. — Tr. 



Without Envy. 
His look bewrays no envy : and ye laud him ? 
He cares not, asks not if your throng applaud him ! 
He has the eagle's eye for distance far, 
He sees you not, he sees but star on star I 


Brethren, war's the origin 

Of happiness on earth : 
Powder-smoke and battle-din 

Witness friendship's birth ! 
Friendship means three things, you know,— 

Kinship in luckless plight. 
Equality before the foe 

Freedom — in death's sight 1 


Maxim of the Over-refined. 
" Rather on your toes stand high 

Than crawl upon all fours, 
Rather through the keyhole spy 

Than through the open doors ! " 


Renown you're quite resolved to earn ? 

My thought about it 
Is this : you need not fame, must learn 

To do without it ! 




I an inquirer ? No, that's not my calling 
Only / weigh a lot — I'm such a lump ! — 

And through the waters I keep falling, falling, 
Till on the ocean's deepest bed I bump. 

The Immortals, 
" To-day is meet for me, I come to-day," 
Such is the speech of men foredoomed to stay. 

" Thou art too soon," they cry, " thou art too late," 
What care the Immortals what the rabble say ? 

Verdicts of the Weary. 
The weary shun the glaring sun, afraid. 
And only care for trees to gain the shade. 

" He sinks, he falls," your scornful looks portend : 
The truth is, to your level he'll descend. 

His Too Much Joy is turned to weariness, 
His Too Much Light will in your darkness end. 

Nature Silenced.* 
Around my neck, on chain of hair, 
The timepiece hangs — a sign of care. 

* Translated by Miss M. D. Petre. 


For me the starry course is o'er, 

No sun and shadow as before, 

No cockcrow summons at the door, 

For nature tells the time no more ! 

Too many clocks her voice have drowned, 

And droning law has dulled her sound. 

The Sage Speaks. 

Strange to the crowd, yet useful to the crowd, 
I still pursue my path, now sun, now cloud. 
But always pass above the crowd ! 

He lost his Head. . . . 

She now has wit — how did it come her way ? 
A man through her his reason lost, they say. 
His head, though wise ere to this pastime lent. 
Straight to the devil — no, to woman went ! 

A Pious Wish. 

" Oh, might all keys be lost ! 'Twere better so 
And in all keyholes might the pick-lock go ! " 
Who thus reflects ye may as — picklock know. 

Foot Writing. 

I write not with the hand alone, 

My foot would write, my foot that capers. 

Firm, free and bold, it's marching on 

Now through the fields, now through the papers. 


" Human^ Ail-too- Human." . . . 
Shy, gloomy, when your looks are backward 

Trusting the future where yourself you trust, 
Are you an eagle, mid the nobler fowl. 
Or are you like Minerva's darling owl ? 

To my Reader. 

Good teeth and a digestion good 

I wish you — these you need, be sure ! 

And, certes, if my book you've stood. 
Me with good humour you'll endure. 

The Realistic Painter. 
« To nature true, complete 1 " so he begins. 
Who complete Nature to his canvas wins? 
Her tiniest fragment's endless, no constraint 
Can know : he paints just what \{\s fancy pins : 
What does his fancy pin ? What he can paint ! 

Poets' Vanity. 

Glue, only glue to me dispense, 

The wood I'll find myself, don't fear! 

To give four senseless verses sense— 
That's an achievement I revere ! 


Taste in Choosing. 
If to choose my niche precise 

Freedom I could win from fate, 
I'd be in midst of Paradise — 

Or, sooner still— before the gate ! 

The Crooked Nose. 
Wide blow your nostrils, and across 
The land your nose holds haughty sway : 
So you, unhorned rhinoceros, 
Proud mannikin, fall forward aye ! 
The one trait with the other goes : 
A straight pride and a crooked nose. 

The Pen is Scratching. . . . 
The pen is scratching : hang the pen ! 

To scratching I'm condemned to sink 1 
I grasp the inkstand fiercely then 

And write in floods of flowing ink. 
How broad, how full the stream's career ! 

What luck my labours doth requite ! 
'Tis true, the writing's none too clear — 

What then ? Who reads the stufl" I write ? 

Loftier Spirits. 
This man's climbing up — let us praise him— 
But that other we love 
From aloft doth eternally move, 
So above even praise let us raise him, 
He comes from above ! 



The Sceptic Speaks. 
Your life is half-way o'er ; 
The clock-hand moves ; your soul is thrilled with 

It roamed to distant shore 
And sought and found not, yet you — linger here ! 

Your life is half-way o'er ; 

That hour by hour was pain and error sheer : 

Why stay ? What seek you more ? 

" That's what I'm seeking — reasons why I'm here ! " 

Ecce Homo. 

Yes, I know where I'm related, 
Like the flame, unquenched, unsated, 

I consume myself and glow : 
All's turned to light I lay my hand on, 
All to coal that I abandon, 

Yes, I am a flame, I know ! 

Star Morality* 

Foredoomed to spaces vast and far, 
What matters darkness to the star ? 

Roll calmly on, let time go by, 
Let sorrows pass thee — nations die ! 

Compassion would but dim the light 
That distant worlds will gladly sight. 

To thee one law — be pure and bright ! 
* Translated by Miss M. D. Petre. 



The Teachers of the Object of Existence.— ySfhet\\Qr 
I look with a good or an evil eye upon men, I find 
them always at one problem, each and all of them : 
to do that which conduces to the conservation of 
the human species. And certainly not out of any 
sentiment of love for this species, but simply 
because nothing in them is older, stronger, more 
inexorable and more unconquerable than that 
instinct, — because it is precisely the essence of our 
race and herd. Although we are accustomed 
readily enough, with our usual short-sightedness, 
to separate our neighbours precisely into useful 
and hurtful, into good and evil men, yet when we 
make a general calculation, and reflect longer 
on the whole question, we become distrustful 
of this defining and separating, and finally 
leave it alone. Even the most hurtful man 
is still perhaps, in respect to the conservation 
of the race, the most useful of all ; for he conserves 
in himself, or by his effect on others, impulses 
without which mankind might long ago have lan- 
guished or decayed. Hatred, delight in mischief, 
rapacity and ambition, and whatever else is called 
evil — belong to the marvellous economy of the 
conservation of the race ; to be sure a costly, lavish, 



and on the whole very foolish economy : — which 
has, however, hitherto preserved our race, as is 
demonstrated to us. I no longer know, my dear 
fellow-man and neighbour, if thou canst at all live to 
the disadvantage of the race, and therefore, " un- 
reasonably " and "badly"; that which could have 
injured the race has perhaps died out many 
millenniums ago, and now belongs to the things 
which are no longer possible even to God. Indulge 
thy best or thy worst desires, and above all, go to 
wreck ! — in either case thou art still probably the 
furtherer and benefactor of mankind in some way 
or other, and in that respect thou mayest have 
thy panegyrists — and similarly thy mockers ! But 
thou wilt never find him who would be quite 
qualified to mock at thee, the individual, at thy 
best, who could bring home to thy conscience its 
h'mitless, buzzing and croaking wretchedness so 
as to be in accord with truth ! To laugh at 
oneself as one would have to laugh in order to 
laugh out of the veriest truth, — to do this, the best 
have not hitherto had enough of the sense of truth, 
and the most endowed have had far too little 
genius! There is perhaps still a future even for 
laughter ! When the maxim, " The race is all, 
the individual is nothing," — has incorporated itself 
in humanity, and when access stands open to 
every one at all times to this ultimate emancipa- 
tion and irresponsibility. — Perhaps then laughter 
will have united with wisdom, perhaps then there 
will be only "joyful wisdom." Meanwhile, however, 
it is quite otherwise, meanwhile the comedy of 
existence has not yet " become conscious " of itself, 


meanwhile it is still the period of tragedy, the 
period of morals and religions. What does the 
ever new appearing of founders of morals and 
religions, of instigators of struggles for moral valua- 
tions, of teachers of remorse of conscience and 
religious war, imply? What do these heroes on 
this stage imply? For they have hitherto been 
the heroes of it, and all else, though solely visible 
for the time being, and too close to one, has served 
only as preparation for these heroes, whether as 
machinery and coulisse, or in the r61e of confidants 
and valets. (The poets, for example, have always 
been the valets of some morality or other.) — It is 
obvious of itself that these tragedians also work in 
the interest of the race, though they may believe 
that they work in the interest of God, and as 
emissaries of God. They also further the life of 
the species, in that they further the belief in life. 
" It is worth while to live " — each of them calls 
out, — "there is something of importance in this 
life ; life has something behind it and under it ; 
take care!" That impulse, which rules equally 
in the noblest and the ignoblest, the impulse to 
the conservation of the species, breaks forth from 
time to time as reason and passion of spirit ; it 
has then a brilliant train of motives about it, and 
tries with all its power to make us forget that 
fundamentally it is just impulse, instinct, folly and 
baselessness. Life j^^«/a? be loved, /^r . . . ! Man 
J^^w/a? benefit himself and his neighbour,/^/- . . . / 
And whatever all these shoulds and fors imply, 
and may imply in future! In order that that 
which necessarily and always happens of itself and 


without design, may henceforth appear to be done 
by design, and may appeal to men as reason and 
ultimate command, — for that purpose the ethi- 
culturist comes forward as the teacher of design in 
existence ; for that purpose he devises a second and 
different existence, and by means of this new 
mechanism he lifts the old common existence off 
its old common hinges. No! he does not at all 
want us to laugh at existence, nor even at ourselves 
— nor at himself; to him an individual is always 
an individual, something first and last and immense, 
to him there are no species, no sums, no noughts. 
However foolish and fanatical his inventions and 
valuations may be, however much he may mis- 
understand the course of nature and deny its con- 
ditions — and all systems of ethics hitherto have 
been foolish and anti-natural to such a degree that 
mankind would have been ruined by any one of 
them had it got the upper hand, — at any rate, every 
time that " the hero " came upon the stage some- 
thing new was attained : the frightful counterpart 
of laughter, the profound convulsion of many in- 
dividuals at the thought, " Yes, it is worth while to 
live ! yes, I am worthy to live ! " — life, and thou, and 
I, and all of us together became for a while interest- 
ing to ourselves once more. — It is not to be denied 
that hitherto laughter and reason and nature have 
in the long run got the upper hand of all the great 
teachers of design : in the end the short tragedy 
always passed over once more into the eternal 
comedy of existence ; and the " waves of innu- 
merable laughters " — to use the expression of 
iEschylus — must also in the end beat over the great- 


est of these tragedies. But with all this corrective 
laughter, human nature has on the whole been 
changed by the ever new appearance of those 
teachers of the design of existence, — human nature 
has now an additional requirement, the very require- 
ment of the ever new appearance of such teachers 
and doctrines of " design." Man has gradually be- 
come a visionary animal, who has to fulfil one more 
condition of existence than the other animals : man 
must from time to time believe that he knows why 
he exists; his species cannot flourish without periodi- 
cally confiding in life ! Without the belief in 
reason in life ! And always from time to time 
will the human race decree anew that "there is 
something which really may not be laughed at." 
And the most clairvoyant philanthropist will add 
that " not only laughing and joyful wisdom, but also 
the tragic with all its sublime irrationality, counts 
among the means and necessities for the conserva- 
tion of the race ! " — And consequently ! Conse- 
quently ! Consequently ! Do you understand me, 
oh my brothers? Do you understand this new 
law of ebb and flow? We also shall have our time ! 

The Intellectual Conscience. — I h ave always th e 
same e xper i ence oveiL _again. and always make a 
new eff'ort against it ; for although it is evident to 
me I do not want to believe it: in the greater number 
of men the intellectual conscience is lacking; indeed, 
it would often seem to me that in demanding such 
a thing, one is as solitary in the largest cities as in 
the desert. Everyone looks at you with strange 


eyes and continues to make use of his scales, 
calling this good and that bad ; and no one blushes 
for shame when you remark that these weights are 
not the full amount,-there is also no indignation 
against you ; perhaps they laugh at your doubt. I 
mean to say that the greater number of people do 
not find it contemptible to believe this or that, and 
live according to it, without having been previously 
aware of the ultimate and surest reasons for and 
against it, and without even giving themselves any 
trouble about such reasons afterwards,— the most 
gifted men and the noblest women still belong to 
this " greater number." But what is kind-hearted- 
ness, refinement and genius to me, if he who has 
these virtues harbours indolent sentiments in beliei 
and judgment, if the longing for certainty does not 
rule in him, as his innermost desire and profoundest 
need-as that which separates higher from lower 
men! In certain pious people I have found 
a hatred of reason, and have been favourably 
disposed to them for it: their bad intellectual 
conscience at least still betrayed itself,_ in this 
manner ' But to stand in the midst of this rerum 
Concordia discors and all the marvellous uncertainty 
and ambiguity of existence, and not to question, not 
to tremble with desire and delight in questioning, 
not even to hate the questioner-perhaps even to 
make merry over him to the extent of wea"ness- 
that is what I regard as contemptible, and it is this 
sentiment which I first of all search for in every 
one— some folly or other always persuades me 
anew that every man has this sentiment, as man. 
This is my special kind of unrighteousness. 


jV<?^/^ and Ignoble. — To ignoble natures all noble, 
magnanimous sentiments appear inexpedient, and 
on that account first and foremost, as incredible : 
they blink with their eyes when they hear of such 
matters, and seem inclined to say, "there will, no 
doubt, be some advantage therefrom, one cannot 
see through all walls;" — they are jealous of the 
noble person, as if he sought advantage by back- 
stair methods. When they are all too plainly 
convinced of the absence of selfish intentions and 
emoluments, the noble person is regarded by them 
as a kind of fool : they despise him in his gladness, 
and laugh at the lustre of his eye. " How can a 
person rejoice at being at a disadvantage, how can 
a person with open eyes want to meet with dis- 
advantage ! It must be a disease of the reason 
with which the noble affection is associated " ; — so 
they think, and they look depreciatingly thereon ; 
just as they depreciate the joy which the lunatic 
derives from his fixed idea. The ignoble nature 
is distinguished by the fact that it keeps its 
advantage steadily in view, and that this thought 
of the end and advantage is even stronger than 
its strongest impulse : not to be tempted to 
inexpedient activities by its impulses — that is its 
wisdom and inspiration. In comparison with 
the ignoble nature the higher nature is more 
irrational : — for the noble, magnanimous, and 
self-sacrificing person succumbs in fact to his 
impulses, and in his best moments his reason 
lapses altogether. An animal, which at the risk 


of life protects its young, or in the pairing season 
follows the female where it meets with death, does 
not think of the risk and the death ; its reason 
pauses likewise, because its delight in its young, 
or in the female, and the fear of being deprived 
of this delight, dominate it exclusively ; it becomes 
stupider than at other times, like the noble and 
magnanimous person. He possesses feelings of 
pleasure and pain of such intensity that the 
intellect must either be silent before them, or 
yield itself to their service : his heart then goes 
into his head, and one henceforth speaks of 
"passions." (Here and there to be sure, the 
antithesis to this, and as it were the "reverse of 
passion," presents itself; for example in Fontenelle, 
to whom some one once laid the hand on the heart 
with the words, " What you have there, my dearest 
friend, is brain also.") It is the unreason, or perverse 
reason of passion, which the ignoble man despises 
in the noble individual, especially when it con- 
centrates upon objects whose value appears to him 
to be altogether fantastic and arbitrary. He is 
offended at him who succumbs to the passion 
of the belly, but he understands the allurement which 
here plays the tyrant ; but he does not understand, 
for example, how a person out of love of knowledge 
can stake his health and honour on the game. 
The taste of the higher nature devotes itself to 
exceptional matters, to things which usually do 
not affect people, and seem to have no sweetness ; 
the higher nature has a singular standard of value. 
Yet it is mostly of the belief that it has not 
a singular standard of value in its idiosyncrasies 


of taste ; it rather sets up its values and non-values 
as the generally valid values and non-values, and 
thus becomes incomprehensible and impracticable. 
It is very rarely that a higher nature has so much 
reason over and above as to understand and deal 
with everyday men as such; for the most part 
it believes in its passion as if it were the concealed 
passion of every one, and precisely in this belief 
it is full of ardour and eloquence. If then such 
exceptional men do not perceive themselves as 
exceptions, how can they ever understand ^ the 
ignoble natures and estimate average men fairly 1 
Thus it is that they also speak of the folly, 
inexpediency and fantasy of mankind, full of 
astonishment at the madness of the world, and 
that it will not recognise the " one thing needful 
for it"— This is the eternal unrighteousness of 
noble natures. 

That which Preserves the Species.— The strongest 
and most evil spirits have hitherto advanced man- 
kind the most : they always rekindled the sleeping 
passions— all orderly arranged society lulls the 
passions to sleep ; they always reawakened the 
sense of comparison, of contradiction, of delight 
in the new, the adventurous, the untried ; they 
compelled men to set opinion against opinion, ideal 
plan against ideal plan. By means of arms, by 
upsetting boundary-stones, by violations of piety 
most of all : but also by new religions and morals ! 
The same kind of " wickedness " is in every teacher 
and preacher of the new— which makes a conqueror 


infamous, although it expresses itself more refinedly, 
and does not immediately set the muscles in motion 
(and just on that account does not make so in- 
famous !). The new, however, is under all circum- 
stances the evil, as that which wants to conquer, 
which tries to upset the old boundary-stones and 
the old piety ; only the old is the good ! The 
good men of every age are those who go to the 
roots of the old thoughts and bear fruit with them, 
the agriculturists of the spirit. But every soil be- 
comes finally exhausted, and the ploughshare of 
evil must always come once more. — There is at 
present a fundamentally erroneous theory of morals 
which is much celebrated, especially in England : 
according to it the judgments " good " and " evil " 
are the accumulation of the experiences of that 
which is " expedient " and " inexpedient " ; accord- 
ing to this theory, that which is called good is 
conservative of the species, what is called evil, how- 
ever, is detrimental to it. But in reality the evil 
impulses are just in as high a degree expedient, 
indispensable, and conservative of the species as 
the good : — only, their function is different. 


Unconditional Duties. — All men who feel that 
they need the strongest words and intonations, the 
most eloquent gestures and attitudes, in order to 
operate at all — revolutionary politicians, socialists, 
preachers of repentance with or without Christianity, 
with all of whom there must be no mere half-success, 
— all these speak of "duties," and indeed, always 
of duties, which have the character of being uncon- 


ditional — without such they would have no right 
to their excessive pathos : they know that right 
well! They grasp, therefore, at philosophies of 
morality which preach some kind of categorical 
imperative, or they assimilate a good lump of 
religion, as, for example, Mazzini did. Because 
they want to be trusted unconditionally, it is first 
of all necessary for them to trust themselves uncon- 
ditionally, on the basis of some ultimate, undebat- 
able command, sublime in itself, as the ministers 
and instruments of which, they would fain feel and 
announce themselves. Here we have the most 
natural, and for the most part, very influential 
opponents of moral enlightenment and scepticism : 
but they are rare. On the other hand, there is 
always a very numerous class of those opponents 
wherever interest teaches subjection, while repute 
and honour seem to forbid it. He who feels himself 
dishonoured at the thought of being the instrument 
of a prince, or of a party and sect, or even of 
wealthy power (for example, as the descendant of 
a proud, ancient family), but wishes just to be 
this instrument, or must be so before himself and 
before the public — such a person has need of 
pathetic principles which can at all times be 
appealed to : — principles of an unconditional ought^ 
to which a person can subject himself without 
shame, and can show himself subjected. All more 
refined servility holds fast to the categorical impera- 
tive, and is the mortal enemy of those who want to 
take away the unconditional character of duty; 
propriety demands this from them, and not only 



Loss of Dignity. — Meditation has lost all its 
dignity of form ; the ceremonial and solemn bearing 
of the meditative person have been made a mockery, 
and one would no longer endure a wise man of 
the old style. We think too hastily and on the 
way and while walking and in the midst of business 
of all kinds, even when we think on the most 
serious matters ; we require little preparation, even 
little quiet:— it is as if each of us carried about an 
unceasingly revolving machine in his head, which 
still works, even under the most unfavourable cir- 
cumstances. Formerly it was perceived in a person 
that on some occasion he wanted to think— it was 
perhaps the exception !— that he now wanted to 
become wiser and collected his mind on a thought : 
he put on a long face for it, as for a prayer, and 
arrested his step-nay, stood still for hours on the 
street when the thought "came"— on one ^ or on 
two legs. It was thus " worthy of the affair " ! 


Something for the Laborious.— Yi^ who at present 
wants to make moral questions a subject of study 
has an immense field of labour before him. All 
kinds of passions must be thought about singly, 
and followed singly throughout periods, peoples, 
great and insignificant individuals ; all their ration- 
ality all their valuations and elucidations of things, 
ought to come to light! Hitherto all that has 
given colour to existence has lacked a history: 
where would one find a history of love, of avarice, 


of envy, of conscience, of piety, of cruelty ? Even 
a comparative history of law, as also of punish- 
ment, has hitherto been completely lacking. Have 
the different divisions of the day, the consequences 
of a regular appointment of the times for labour, 
feast, and repose, ever been made the object of 
investigation? Do we know the moral effects of 
the alimentary substances ? Is there a philosophy 
of nutrition? (The ever-recurring outcry for and 
against vegetarianism proves that as yet there 
is no such philosophy!) Have the experiences 
with regard to communal living, for example, in 
monasteries, been collected? Has the dialectic 
of marriage and friendship been set forth? The 
customs of the learned, of trades-people, of artists, 
and of mechanics — have they already found theii 
thinkers ? There is so much to think of thereon ! 
All that up till now has been considered as the 
" conditions of existence," of human beings, and all 
reason, passion and superstition in this considera- 
tion — have they been investigated to the end? 
The observation alone of the different degrees of 
development which the human impulses have 
attained, and, could yet attain, according to the 
different moral climates, would furnish too much 
work for the most laborious ; whole generations, 
and regular co-operating generations of the learned, 
would be needed in order to exhaust the points 
of view and the material here furnished. The 
same is true of the determining of the reasons 
for the differences of the moral climates (" on what 
account does this sun of a fundamental moral judg- 
ment and standard of highest value shine here — and 


that sun there ? ")• And there is again a new labour 
which points out the erroneousness of all these 
reasons, and determines the entire essence of the 
moral judgments hitherto made. Supposing all these 
labours to be accomplished, the most critical of all 
questions would then come into the foreground : 
whether science is in a position to furnish goals for 
human action, after it has proved that it can take 
them away and annihilate them— and then would be 
the time for a process of experimenting, in which 
every kind of heroism could satisfy itself, an 
experimenting for centuries, which would put into 
the shade all the great labours and sacrifices of 
previous history. Science has not hitherto built 
its Cyclopic structures ; for that also the time will 


Unconscious Virtues. — All qualities in a man of 
which he is conscious— and especially when he 
presumes that they are visible and evident to his 
environment also— are subject to quite other laws 
of development than those qualities which are un- 
known to him, or imperfectly known, which by 
their subtlety can also conceal themselves from 
the subtlest observer, and hide as it were behind 
nothing,— as in the case of the delicate sculptures 
on the scales of reptiles (it would be an error to 
suppose them an adornment or a defence— for one 
sees them only with the microscope ; consequently, 
with an eye artificially strengthened to an extent 
of vision which similar animals, to which they 
might perhaps have meant adornment or defence, 


do not possess !). Our visible moral qualities, and 
especially our moral qualities believed to be visible, 
follow their own course, — and our invisible qualities 
of similar name, which in relation to others neither 
serve for adornment nor defence, also follow their 
own course : quite a different course probably, and 
with lines and refinements, and sculptures, which 
might perhaps give pleasure to a God with a divine 
microscope. We have, for example, our diligence, 
our ambition, our acuteness : all the world knows 
about them, — and besides, we have probably once 
more our diligence, our ambition, our acuteness ; 
but for these — our reptile scales — the microscope 
has not yet been invented ! — And here the adherents 
of instinctive morality will say, "Bravo! He at 
least regards unconscious virtues as possible — that 
suffices us 1 " — Oh, ye unexacting creatures ! 


Our Eruptions. — Numberless things which 
humanity acquired in its earlier stages, but so 
weakly and embryonically that it could not be 
noticed that they were acquired, are thrust suddenly 
into light long afterwards, perhaps after the lapse of 
centuries : they have in the interval become strong 
and mature. In some ages this or that talent, this 
or that virtue seems to be entirely lacking, as it 
is in some men ; but let us wait only for the 
grandchildren and grandchildren's children, if we 
have time to wait, — they bring the interior of their 
grandfathers into the sun, that interior of which 
the grandfathers themselves were unconscious. 
The son, indeed, is often the betrayer of his father ; 


the latter understands himself better since he has 
got his son. We have all hidden gardens and 
plantations in us ; and by another simile, we are 
all growing volcanoes, which will have their hours 
of. eruption : — how near or how distant this is, 
nobody of course knows, not even the good God. 


A Species of Atavism. — I like best to think of the 
rare men of an age as suddenly emerging after- 
shoots of past cultures, and of their persistent 
strength : like the atavism of a people and its civili- 
sation : — there is thus still something in them to 
think of! They now seem strange, rare, and extra- 
ordinary : and he who feels these forces in himself 
has to foster them in face of a different, opposing 
world ; he has to defend them, honour them, and rear 
them to maturity : and he either becomes a great man 
thereby, or a deranged and eccentric person, if he 
does not altogether break down betimes. Formerly 
these rare qualities were usual, and were conse- 
quently regarded as common : they did not dis- 
tinguish people. Perhaps they were demanded and 
presupposed ; it was impossible to become great 
with them, for indeed there was also no danger 
of becoming insane and solitary with them. — 
It is principally in the old-established families and 
castes of a people that such after-effects of old 
impulses present themselves, while there is no 
probability of such atavism where races, habits, 
and valuations change too rapidly. For the tempo 
of the evolutional forces in peoples implies just 
as much as in music ; for our case an andante of 


evolution is absolutely necessary, as the tempo of a 
passionate and slow spirit : — and the spirit of con- 
serving families is certainly of that sort. 


Consciousness. — Consciousness is the last and 
latest development of the organic, and consequently 
also the most unfinished and least powerful of these 
developments. Innumerable mistakes originate out 
of consciousness, which, " in spite of fate," as Homer 
says, cause an animal or a man to break down 
earlier than might be necessary. If the conserv- 
ing bond of the instincts were not very much 
more powerful, it would not generally serve as a 
regulator : by perverse judging and dreaming 
with open eyes, by superficiality and credulity, 
in short, just by consciousness, mankind would 
necessarily have broken down : or rather, without 
the former there would long ago have been nothing 
more of the latter ! Before a function is fully formed 
and matured, it is a danger to the organism : 
all the better if it be then thoroughly tyrannised 
over ! Consciousness is thus thoroughly tyrannised 
over — and not least by the pride in it ! It is 
thought that here is the quintessence of man ; that 
which is enduring, eternal, ultimate, and most 
original in him ! Consciousness is regarded as a 
fixed, given magnitude ! Its growth and intermit- 
tences are denied ! It is accepted as the " unity of 
the organism " ! — This ludicrous overvaluation and 
misconception of consciousness has as its result the 
great utility that a too rapid maturing of it has 
thereby been hindered. Because men believed that 


they already possessed consciousness, they gave 
themselves very little trouble to acquire it— and 
even now it is not otherwise! It is still an 
entirely new problem just dawning on the human 
eye, and hardly yet plainly recognisable :^ to embody 
knowledge in ourselves and make it instinctive,— a 
problem which is only seen by those who have 
grasped the fact that hitherto our errors alone have 
been embodied in us, and that all our consciousness 
is relative to errors ! 


The Goal of Science.— V^\\.'d!i ? The ultimate goal 
of science is to create the most pleasure possible to 
man, and the least possible pain? But what if 
pleasure and pain should be so closely connected 
that he who wants the greatest possible amount of 
the one must also have the greatest possible amount 
of the other,— that he who wants to experience the 
« heavenly high jubilation," * must also be ready to 
be " sorrowful unto death " ? * And it is so, perhaps ! 
The Stoics at least believed it was so, and they 
were consistent when they wished to have the least 
possible pleasure, in order to have the least possible 
pain from life. (When one uses the expression: 
" The virtuous man is the happiest," it is as much 
the sign-board of the school for the masses, as 
a casuistic subtlety for the subtle.) At present 
also ye have still the choice: either the least 
possible pain, in short painlessness— and after all, 

♦ Allusions to the song of Clara in Goethe's " Egmont." 
— Tr. 


socialists and politicians of all parties could not 
honourably promise more to their people, — or the 
greatest possible amount of pain, as the price of 
the growth of a fullness of refined delights and 
enjoyments rarely tasted hitherto ! If ye decide 
for the former, if ye therefore want to depress and 
minimise man's capacity for pain, well, ye must 
also depress and minimise his capacity for enjoy- 
ment. In fact, one can further the one as well as 
the other goal by science! Perhaps science is as 
yet best known by its capacity for depriving man 
of enjoyment, and making him colder, more 
statuesque, and more Stoical. But it might also 
turn out to be the great pain-bringer ! — And then, 
perhaps, its counteracting force would be discovered 
simultaneously, its immense capacity for making 
new sidereal worlds of enjoyment beam forth ! 


The Theory of the Sense of Power. — We exercise 
our power over others by doing them good or 
by doing them ill— that is all we care for! 
Doing ill to those on whom we have to make our 
power felt ; for pain is a far more sensitive means 
for that purpose than pleasure : — pain always asks 
concerning the cause, while pleasure is inclined 
to keep within itself and not look backward. 
Doing good and being kind to those who are in 
any way already dependent on us (that is, who 
are accustomed to think of us as their raison 
Sitre)\ we want to increase their power, because 
we thus increase our own; or we want to show 


them the advantage there is in being in our 
power,-they thus become more contented with 
their position, and more hostile to the of 
our power and readier to contend with them. 
If we make sacrifices in doing good or m doing lU, 
it does not alter the ultimate value of our actions ; 
even if we stake our life in the cause, as martyrs for 
the sake of our church, it is a sacrifice to our 
longing for power, or for the purpose of conserving 
our sense of power. He who under these "rcum- 
stances feels that he "is in possession of ""«> 
how many possessions does he not '«' 6°. '" °'-der 
to preserve this feeling 1 What does he not throw 
oveAoard, in order to keep himsel "up,"-that 
to say. J.« the others who lack the "truth 
Certainly the condition we are in when we do lU 
is seldom so pleasant, so purely P e^^^n> ,^.=^ *^' 
in which we practise kindness,-it is an indication 
thaTwe still lack power, or it betrays ill-humour 
at this defect in us ; it brings with it new dangers 
tnd uncertainties as to the power we already 
possess, and clouds our horizon by the P-^,?;;,' ° 
revenge, scorn, punishment and failure. Perhaps 
only thise most susceptible to the sense of power 
and eager for it, will prefer to impress the seal of 
power In the resisting individual.-those to whom 
the sight of the already subjugated person as the 
Ob e t of benevolence is a burden and a teduin. 
It is a question how a person is accustomed to 
season his life; it is amctter of taste whether a 
p^on would ;ather have the slow or the sudden 
the safe or the dangerous and daring increase of 
power -he seeks this or that seasoning always 


according to his temperament. An easy booty 
is something contemptible to proud natures ; they 
have an agreeable sensation only at the sight of 
men of unbroken spirit who could be enemies to 
them, and similarly, also, at the sight of all not easily 
accessible possession ; they are often hard toward 
the sufferer, for he is not worthy of their effort or 
their pride, — but they show themselves so much 
the more courteous towards their equals, with whom 
strife and struggle would in any case be full of 
honour, if at any time an occasion for it should 
present itself. It is under the agreeable feelings 
of this perspective that the members of the 
knightly caste have habituated themselves to ex- 
quisite courtesy toward one another. — Pity is the 
most pleasant feeling in those who have not much 
pride, and have no prospect of great conquests: the 
easy booty — and that is what every sufferer is — is 
for them an enchanting thing. Pity is said to 
be the virtue of the gay lady. 


What is called Love. — The lust of property, and 
love : what different associations each of these 
ideas evoke! — and yet it might be the same im- 
pulse twice named : on the one occasion disparaged 
from the standpoint of those already possessing 
(in whom the impulse has attained something of 
repose, — who are now apprehensive for the safety 
of their "possession"); on the other occasion 
viewed from the standpoint of the unsatisfied and 
thirsty, and therefore glorified as "good." Our 


love of our neighbour, — is it not a striving after new 
property ? And similarly our love of knowledge, of 
truth; and in general all the striving after novelties? 
We gradually become satiated with the old and 
securely possessed, and again stretch out our hands ; 
even the finest landscape in which we live for three 
months is no longer certain of our love, and any 
kind of more distant coast excites our covetousness : 
the possession for the most part becomes smaller 
through possessing. Our pleasure in ourselves 
seeks to maintain itself by always transforming 
something new into ourselves^ — that is just possess- 
ing. To become satiated with a possession, that is 
to become satiated with ourselves. (One can also 
suffer from excess, — even the desire to cast away, 
to share out, may assume the honourable name of 
" love.") When we see any one suffering, we willingly 
utilise the opportunity then afforded to take posses- 
sion of him ; the beneficent and sympathetic man, 
for example, does this ; he also calls the desire for 
new possession awakened in him, by the name of 
"love," and has enjoyment in it, as in a new 
acquisition suggesting itself to him. The love of 
the sexes, however, betrays itself most plainly as 
the striving after possession : the lover wants the 
unconditioned, sole possession of the person longed 
for by him ; he wants just as absolute power over 
her soul as over her body ; he wants to be loved 
solely, and to dwell and rule in the other soul as 
what is highest and most to be desired. When 
one considers that this means precisely to ex- 
clude all the world from a precious possession, a 
happiness, and an enjoyment ; when one considers 


that the lover has in view the impoverishment and 
privation of all other rivals, and would like to 
become the dragon of his golden hoard, as the 
most inconsiderate and selfish of all " conquerors " 
and exploiters ; when one considers finally that to 
the lover himself, the whole world besides appears 
indifferent, colourless, and worthless, and that he 
is ready to make every sacrifice, disturb every 
arrangement, and put every other interest behind 
his own, — one is verily surprised that this ferocious 
lust of property and injustice of sexual love should 
have been glorified and deified to such an extent at 
all times ; yea, that out of this love the conception 
of love as the antithesis of egoism should have been 
derived, when it is perhaps precisely the most un- 
qualified expression of egoism. Here, evidently, the 
non-possessors and desirers have determined the 
usage of language, — there were, of course, always 
too many of them. Those who have been favoured 
with much possession and satiety, have, to be sure, 
dropped a word now and then about the " raging 
demon," as, for instance, the most lovable and most 
beloved of all the Athenians — Sophocles ; but Eros 
always laughed at such revilers, — they were 
always his greatest favourites. — There is, of course, 
here and there on this terrestrial sphere a kind of 
sequel to love, in which that covetous longing of 
two persons for one another has yielded to a new 
desire and covetousness, to a common, higher thirst 
for a superior ideal standing above them : but who 
knows this love? Who has experienced it? Its 
right name \s friendship. 



Out of the Distance. — This mountain makes the 
whole district which it dominates charming in 
every way, and full of significance. After we have 
said this to ourselves for the hundredth time, we 
are so irrationally and so gratefully disposed to- 
wards it, as the giver of this charm, that we 
fancy it must itself be the most charming thing 
in the district — and so we climb it, and are 
undeceived. All of a sudden, both it and the 
landscape around us and under us, are as it were 
disenchanted ; we had forgotten that many a great- 
ness, like many a goodness, wants only to be seen 
at a certain distance, and entirely from below, not 
from above, — it is thus only that it operates. Per- 
haps you know men in your neighbourhood who 
can only look at themselves from a certain distance 
to find themselves at all endurable, or attractive 
and enlivening ; they are to be dissuaded from self- 

Across the Plank.— On^ must be able to dis- 
simulate in intercourse with persons who are 
ashamed of their feelings ; they take a sudden 
aversion to anyone who surprises them in a 
state of tenderness, or of enthusiastic and high- 
running feeling, as if he had seen their secrets. If 
one wants to be kind to them in such moments 
one should make them laugh, or say some kind of 
cold, playful wickedness :— their feeling thereby 
congeals, and they are again self-possessed. But 
I give the moral before the story.— We were once 


on a time so near one another in the course of our 
lives, that nothing more seemed to hinder our 
friendship and fraternity, and there was merely a 
small plank between us. While you were just 
about to step on it, I asked you : " Do you want 
to come across the plank to me?" But then you 
did not want to come any longer ; and when I again 
entreated, you were silent. Since then mountains 
and torrents, and whatever separates and alienates, 
have interposed between us, and even if we wanted 
to come to one another, we could no longer do so ! 
When, however, you now remember that small 
plank, you have no longer words,— but merely sobs 
and amazement. 


Motivation of Poverty. — We cannot, to be sure, by 
any artifice make a rich and richly-flowing virtue 
out of a poor one, but we can gracefully enough 
reinterpret its poverty into necessity, so that its 
aspect no longer gives pain to us, and we cease 
making reproachful faces at fate on account of it. 
It is thus that the wise gardener does who puts the 
tiny streamlet of his garden into the arms of a 
fountain-nymph, and thus motivates the poverty :— 
and who would not like him need the nymphs ! 

Ancient Pride. — The ancient savour of nobility 
is lacking in us, because the ancient slave is lacking 
in our sentiment. A Greek of noble descent found 
such immense intermediate stages, and such a 
distance betwixt his elevation and that ultimate 


baseness, that he could hardly even see the slave 
plainly : even Plato no longer saw him entirely. 
It is otherwise with us, accustomed as we are to 
the doctrine of the equality of men, although not 
to the equality itself A being who has not the 
free disposal of himself and has not got leisure, 
— that is not regarded by us as anything con- 
temptible ; there is perhaps too much of this kind 
of slavishness in each of us, in accordance with 
the conditions of our social order and activity, 
which are fundamentally different from those of 
the ancients. — The Greek philosopher went through 
life with the secret feeling that there were many 
more slaves than people supposed — that is to 
say, that every one was a slave who was not a 
philosopher. His pride was puffed up when he 
considered that even the mightiest of the earth 
were thus to be looked upon as slaves. This 
pride is also unfamiliar to us, and impossible ; the 
word " slave " has not its full force for us even in 


Evil. — Test the life of the best and most pro- 
ductive men and nations, and ask yourselves 
whether a tree which is to grow proudly heaven- 
ward can dispense with bad weather and tempests : 
whether disfavour and opposition from without, 
whether every kind of hatred, jealousy, stubborn- 
ness, distrust, severity, greed, and violence do not 
belong to the favouring circumstances without 
which a great growth even in virtue is hardly 
possible ? The poison by which the weaker nature 


is destroyed is strengthening to the strong indi- 
vidual — and he does not call it poison. 

Dignity of Folly. — Several millenniums further 
on in the path of the last century ! — and in every- 
thing that man does the highest prudence will be 
exhibited : but just thereby prudence will have 
lost all its dignity. It will then, sure enough, be 
necessary to be prudent, but it will also be so 
usual and common, that a more fastidious taste 
will feel this necessity as vulgarity. And just as a 
tyranny of truth and science would be in a position 
to raise the value of falsehood, a tyranny of prudence 
could force into prominence a new species of noble- 
ness. To be noble — that might then mean, perhaps, 
to be capable of follies. 


To the Teachers of Unselfishness. — The virtues of 
a man are called good, not in respect to the results 
they have for himself, but in respect to the results 
which we expect therefrom for ourselves and for 
society: — we have all along had very little unselfish- 
ness, very little " non-egoism " in our praise of the 
virtues ! For otherwise it could not but have been 
seen that the virtues (such as diligence, obedience, 
chastity, piety, justice) are mostly injurious to 
their possessors, as impulses which rule in them 
too vehemently and ardently, and do not want 
to be kept in co-ordination with the other im- 
pulses by the reason. If you have a virtue, an 
actual, perfect virtue (and not merely a kind of 


impulse towards virtue !)-you are its victim / But 
your neighbour praises your virtue precisely on 
that account ! One praises the diligent man though 
he injures his sight, or the originality and freshness 
of his spirit, by his diligence; the youth is 
honoured and regretted who has "worn himself 
out by work," because one passes the judgnient 
that "for society as a whole the loss of the best 
individual is only a small sacrifice! A pity that 
this sacrifice should be necessary ! A much greater 
pity it is true, if the individual should thmk differ- 
ently, and regard his preservation and development 
as more important than his work in the service of 
society'" And so one regrets this youth, not on 
his own account, but because a devoted instrument, 
regardless of self-a so-called "good man, has 
been lost to society by his death Perhaps one 
further considers the question, whether it would not 
have been more advantageous for the interests of 
society if he had laboured with less disregard of 
himself, and had preserved himself longer,-mdeed 
one readily admits an advantage therefrom but 
one esteems the other advantage, namely, that a 
sacrifice has been made, and that the disposition 
of the sacrificial animal has once more been obvtously 
endorsed-as higher and more enduring. It is 
accordingly, on the one part the instrumental 
character in the virtues which is praised when 
the virtues are praised, and on the other part the 
blind, ruling impulse in every virtue which refuses 
to let itself be kept within bounds by the general 
advantage to the individual; in short, _ what is 
praised is the unreason in the virtues, in conse- 


quencc of which the individual allows himself to 
be transformed into a function of the whole. The 
praise of the virtues is the praise of something 
which is privately injurious to the individual ; it is 
praise of impulses which deprive man of his noblest 
self-love, and the power to take the best care of 
himself. To be sure, for the teaching and embody- 
ing of virtuous habits a series of effects of virtue 
are displayed, which make it appear that virtue 
and private advantage are closely related, — and 
there is in fact such a relationship ! Blindly 
furious diligence, for example, the typical virtue of 
an instrument, is represented as the way to riches 
and honour, and as the most beneficial antidote to 
tedium and passion : but people are silent concern- 
ing its danger, its greatest dangerousness. Educa- 
tion proceeds in this manner throughout : it 
endeavours, by a series of enticements and advan- 
tages, to determine the individual to a certain mode 
of thinking and acting, which, when it has become 
habit, impulse and passion, rules in him and 
over him, in opposition to his ultimate advantage^ 
but " for the general good." How often do I see 
that blindly furious diligence does indeed create 
riches and honours, but at the same time deprives 
the organs of the refinement by virtue of which 
alone an enjoyment of riches and honours is 
possible ; so that really the main expedient for 
combating tedium and passion, simultaneously 
blunts the senses and makes the spirit refractory 
towards new stimuli ! (The busiest of all ages — 
our age — does not know how to make anything 
out of its great diligence and wealth, except always 


more and more wealth, and more and more 
diligence; there is even more genius needed for 
laying out wealth than for acquiring it!— Well, we 
shall have our "grandchildren"!) If the educa- 
tion succeeds, every virtue of the individual is a 
. public utility, and a private disadvantage in respect 
to the highest private end,— probably some psycho- 
aesthetic stunting, or even premature dissolution. 
One should consider successively from the same 
standpoint the virtues of obedience, chastity, piety, 
and justice. The praise of the unselfish, self- 
sacrificing, virtuous person— he, consequently, who 
does not expend his whole energy and reason 
for his own conservation, development, elevation, 
furtherance and augmentation of power, but lives 
as regards himself unassumingly and thoughtlessly, 
perhaps even indifferently or ironically,— this praise 
has in any case not originated out of the spirit of 
unselfishness ! The " neighbour " praises unselfish- 
ness because he profits by it! If the neighbour 
were "unselfishly" disposed himself, he would 
reject that destruction of power, that injury for his 
advantage, he would thwart such inclinations in 
their origin, and above all he would manifest his 
unselfishness just by not giving it a good name! 
The fundamental contradiction in that morality 
which at present stands in high honour is here 
indicated : the motives to such a morality are in 
antithesis to its principle! That with which this 
morality wishes to prove itself, refutes it out of. 
its criterion of what is moral ! The maxim, " Thou 
Shalt renounce thyself and offer . thyself as a 
sacrifice," in order not to be inconsistent with its 


own morality, could only be decreed by a being 
who himself renounced his own advantage thereby, 
and who perhaps in the required self-sacrifice of 
individuals brought about his own dissolution. 
As soon, however, as the neighbour (or society) 
recommended altruism on account of its utility, the 
precisely antithetical proposition, " Thou shalt seek 
thy advantage even at the expense of everybody 
else," was brought into use: accordingly, "thou 
shalt," and " thou shalt not," are preached in one 
breath ! 


LOrdre du Jour pour le i?^/.— The day com- 
mences : let us begin to arrange for this day the 
business and fetes of our most gracious lord, who 
at present is still pleased to repose. His Majesty 
has bad weather to-day : we shall be careful not 
to call it bad; we shall not speak of the weather,— 
but we shall go through to-day's business somewhat 
more ceremoniously and make the fgtes somewhat 
more festive than would otherwise be necessary. 
His Majesty may perhaps even be sick : we shall 
give the last good news of the evening at breakfast, 
the arrival of M. Montaigne, who knows how to joke 
so pleasantly about his sickness,— he suffers from 
stone. We shall receive several persons (persons ! — 
what would that old inflated frog, who will be 
among them, say, if he heard this word ! " I am 
no person," he would say, "but always the thing 
itself ")— and the reception will last longer than is 
pleasant to anybody; a sufficient reason for telling 
about the poet who wrote over his door, " He who 


enters here will do me an honour ; he who does 
not— a favour."— That is, forsooth, saying a discour- 
teous thing in a courteous manner ! And perhaps 
this poet is quite justified on his part in being 
discourteous ; they say that his rhymes are better 
than the rhymester. Well, let him still make many 
of them, and withdraw himself as much as possible 
from the world: and that is doubtless the signi- 
ficance of his well-bred rudeness! A prince, on 
the other hand, is always of more value than his 
"verse," even when — but what are we about ? We 
gossip, and the whole court believes that we have 
already been at work and racked our brains : there 
is no light to be seen earlier than that which burns 
in our window.— Hark ! Was that not the bell? 
The devil! The day and the dance commence, 
and we do not know our rounds ! We must then 
improvise, — all the world improvises its day. To- 
day, let us for once do like all the world !— And 
therewith vanished my wonderful morning dream, 
probably owing to the violent strokes of the tower- 
clock, which just then announced the fifth hour 
with all the importance which is peculiar to it. It 
seems to me that on this occasion the God of 
dreams wanted to make merry over my habits,— 
it is my habit to commence the day by arranging 
» it properly, to make it endurable for myself, and 
it is possible that I may often have done this too 
formally, and too much like a prince. 


The Characteristics of Corruption.— 'LQt us observe 
the following characteristics in that condition of 


society from time to time necessary, which is desig- 
nated by the word " corruption," I mmediately upon 
the appearance of corruption anywhere, a motley 
superstition gets the upper hand, and the hitherto 
universal belief of a people becomes colourless and 
impotent in comparison with it ; for superstition is 
freethinking of the second rank,— he who gives 
himself over to it selects certain forms and formulae 
which appeal to him, and permits himself a right 
of choice. The superstitious man is always much 
more of a " person," in comparison with the religious 
man, and a superstitious society will be one in 
which there are many individuals, and a delight in 
individuality. Seen from this standpoint supersti- 
tion always appears as a progress in comparison 
with belief, and as a sign that the intellect becomes 
more independent and claims to have its rights. 
Those who reverence the old religion and the 
religious disposition then complain of corruption, — 
they have hitherto also determined the usage of 
language, and have given a bad repute to supersti- 
tion, even among the freest spirits. Let us learn 
that it is a symptom of enlightenment. — Secondly, 
a society in which corruption takes a hold is blamed 
for effeminacy: for the appreciation of war, and 
the delight in war, perceptibly diminish in such a 
society, and the conveniences of life are now just 
as eagerly sought after as were military and 
gymnastic honours formerly. But one is accus- 
tomed to overlook the fact that the old national 
energy and national passion, which acquired a 
magnificent splendour in war and in the tourney, 
has now transferred itself into innumerable private 


passions, and has merely become less visible; 
indeed in periods of " corruption " the quantity and 
quality of the expended energy of a people is prob- 
ably greater than ever, and the individual spends 
it lavishly, to such an extent as could not be done 
formerly — he was not then rich enough to do so ! 
And thus it is precisely in times of " effeminacy " 
that tragedy runs at large in and out of doors, it 
is then that ardent love and ardent hatred are 
born, and the flame of knowledge flashes heaven- 
ward in full blaze. — Thirdly, as if in amends for the 
reproach of superstition and effeminacy, it is cus- 
tomary to say of such periods of corruption that 
they are milder, and that cruelty has then greatly 
diminished in comparison with the older, more 
credulous, and stronger period. But to this praise 
I am just as little able to assent as to that reproach : 
I only grant so much — namely, that cruelty now 
becomes more refined, and its older forms are 
henceforth counter to the taste ; but the wounding 
and torturing by word and look reaches its highest 
development in times of corruption, — it is now only 
that wickedness is created, and the delight in wicked- 
ness. The men of the period of corruption are 
witty and calumnious ; they know that there are 
yet other ways of murdering than by the dagger 
and the ambush — they know also that all that is 
well said is believed in. — Fourthly, it is when 
" morals decay " that those beings whoTi one calls 
tyrants first make their appearance ; they are the 
forerunners of the individual, and as it were early 
matured firstlings. Yet a little while, and this 
fruit of fruits hangs ripe and yellow on the tree of 


a people, — and only for the sake of such fruit did 
this tree exist ! When the decay has reached its 
worst, and likewise the conflict of all sorts of tyrants, 
there always arises the Caesar, the final tyrant, who 
puts an end to the exhausted struggle for sove- 
reignty, by making the exhaustedness work for him. 
In his time the individual is usually most mature, 
and consequently the "culture" is highest and 
most fruitful, but not on his account nor through 
him : although the men of highest culture love to 
flatter their Caesar by pretending that they are Ms 
creation. The truth, however, is that they need 
quietness externally, because they have disquietude 
and labour internally. In these times bribery and 
treason are at their height : for the love of the e£^o, 
then first discovered, is much more powerful than 
the love of the old, used-up, hackneyed "father- 
land" ; and the need to be secure in one way or other 
against the frightful fluctuations of fortune, opens 
even the nobler hands, as soon as a richer and more 
powerful person shows himself ready to put gold 
into them. There is then so little certainty with 
regard to the future ; people live only for the day : 
a psychical condition which enables every deceiver 
to play an easy game, — people of course only let 
themselves be misled and bribed " for the present," 
and reserve for themselves futurity and virtue. 
The individuals, as is well known, the men who 
only live for themselves, provide for the moment 
more than do their opposites, the gregarious men, 
because they consider themselves just as incalcul- 
able as the future ; and similarly they attach them- 
selves willingly to despots, because they believe 


themselves capable of activities and expedients, 
which can neither reckon on being understood by 
the multitude, nor on finding favour with them - 
but the tyrant or the C^sar understands the rights 
of the individual even in his excesses, and has an 
interest in speaking on behalf of a bolder private 
morality, and even in giving his hand to it For 
he thinks of himself, and wishes people to think of 
him what Napoleon once uttered in his classica 
style—" I have the right to answer by an eternal 
'thus I am' to everything about which complaint 
is brought against me. I am apart from all the 
world. I accept conditions from nobody I wish 
people also to submit to my fancies, and to take 
it quite as a simple matter, if I should indulge in 
this or that diversion." Thus spoke Napoleon 
once to his wife, when she had reasons for calling 
in question the fidelity of her husband.-The times 
of corruption are the seasons when the apples fall 
from the tree: I mean the individuals, the seed- 
bearers of the future, the pioneers of spiritua 
colonisation, and of a new construction of national 
and social unions. Corruption is only an abusive 
term for the harvest time of a people. 

Different Dissatisfactions.— 1\iQ feeble and as it 
were feminine dissatisfied people, have ingenuity 
for beautifying and deepening life; the strong 
dissatisfied people-the masculine persons among 
them to continue the metaphor— have ingenuity 
for improving and safeguarding life. The former 


show their weakness and feminine character by 
willingly letting themselves be temporarily deceived, 
and perhaps even by putting up with a little 
ecstasy and enthusiasm on a time, but on the whole 
they are never to be satisfied, and suffer from the 
incurability of their dissatisfaction ; moreover they 
are the patrons of all those who manage to concoct 
opiate and narcotic comforts, and on that account 
are averse to those who value the physician 
higher than the priest, — they thereby encourage 
the continuance of actual distress ! If there had 
not been a surplus of dissatisfied persons of this 
kind in Europe since the time of the Middle Ages, 
the remarkable capacity of Europeans for constant 
transformation would perhaps not have originated 
at all ; for the claims of the strong dissatisfied 
persons are too gross, and really too modest to 
resist being finally quieted down. China is an 
instance of a country in which dissatisfaction on a 
grand scale and the capacity for transformation 
have died out for many centuries ; and the Socialists 
and state-idolaters of Europe could easily bring 
things to Chinese conditions and to a Chinese 
" happiness," with their measures for the ameliora- 
tion and security of life, provided that they could 
first of all root out the sicklier, tenderer, more 
feminine dissatisfaction and Romanticism which 
are still very abundant among us. Europe is an 
invalid who owes her best thanks to her incurability 
and the eternal transformations of her sufferings ; 
these constant new situations, these equally con- 
stant new dangers, pains, and make-shifts, have at 
last generated an intellectual sensitiveness which is 


almost equal to genius, and is in any case the 
mother of all genius. 

Not Pre-ordained to Knowledge.— There is a pur- 
blind humility not at all rare, and when a person 
is afflicted with it, he is once for all disquahfied 
for being a disciple of knowledge. It is this in 
fact: the moment a man of this kind perceives 
anything striking, he turns as it were on his heel 
and says to himself: "You have deceived yourself! 
Where have your wits been! This cannot be 
the truth ! "-and then, instead of looking at it and 
listening to it with more attention, he runs out of 
the way of the striking object as if intimidated, 
and seeks to get it out of his head as q^ckly as 
oossible. For his fundamental rule runs thus : 1 
want to see nothing that contradicts the "sual 
opinion concerning things ! Am / created for the 
purpose of discovering new truths? There are 
already too many of the old ones." 


What is i,Vm^?-Living-thatis to continually 
eliminate from ourselves what is about to die; 
L "ng-that is to be cruel and inexorable towards 
all that becomes weak and old in ourselves and 
not only in ourselves. Living-that means, there- 
?ore to be without piety toward the dymg, the 
wretched and the old? To be continually a mur- 
derer p-And yet old Moses said : " Thou shalt not 



The Self-Renouncer. — What does the self- 
renouncer do? He strives after a higher world, 
he wants to fly longer and further and higher than 
all men of affirmation — he throws away many things 
that would impede his flight, and several things 
among them that are not valueless, that are not 
unpleasant to him : he sacrifices them to his desire 
for elevation. Now this sacrificing, this casting 
away, is the very thing which becomes visible 
in him : on that account one calls him a self- 
renouncer, and as such he stands before us, 
enveloped in his cowl, and as the soul of a 
hair-shirt. With this effect, however, which he 
makes upon us he is well content: he wants to 
keep concealed from us his desire, his pride, his 
intention of flying above us. — Yes ! He is wiser 
than we thought, and so courteous towards us — 
this aflfirmer! For that is what he is, like us, 
even in his self-renunciation. 


Injuring with one's best Qualities. — Our strong 
points sometimes drive us so far forward that we 
cannot any longer endure our weaknesses, and we 
perish by them : we also perhaps see this result 
beforehand, but nevertheless do not want it to be 
otherwise. We then become hard towards that 
which would fain be spared in us, and our pitiless - 
ness is also our greatness. Such an experience, 
which must in the end cost us our liie, is a symbol 



of the collective effect of great men upon others 
and upon their epoch :— it is just with their best 
abilities, with that which only they can do, that they 
destroy much that is weak, uncertain, evolving, and 
willing, and are thereby injurious. Indeed, the 
case may happen in which, taken on the whole, 
they only do injury, because their best is accepted 
and drunk up as it were solely by those who lose 
their understanding and their egoism by it, as by 
too strong a beverage ; they become so intoxicated 
that they go breaking their limbs on all the wrong 
roads where their drunkenness drives them. 


Adventitious Liars. — ^hen people began to 
combat the unity of Aristotle in France, and con- 
sequently also to defend it, there was once more 
to be seen that which has been seen so often, but 
seen so unwillingly -.—people imposed false reasons 
on themselves on account of which those laws ought 
to exist, merely for the sake of not acknowledgmg 
to themselves that they had accustomed themselves 
to the authority of those laws, and did not want 
any longer to have things otherwise. And people 
do so in every prevailing morality and religion, and 
have always done so: the reasons and intentions 
behind the habit, are only added surreptitiously 
when people begin to combat the habit, and ask for 
reasons and intentions. It is here that the great 
dishonesty of the conservatives of all times hides : 
—they are adventitious liars. 



The Comedy of Celebrated Men. — Celebrated men 
who need their fame, as, for instance, all politicians, 
no longer select their associates and friends without 
fore-thought: from the one they want a portion 
of the splendour and reflection of his virtues ; from 
the other they want the fear-inspiring power of 
certain dubious qualities in him, of which every- 
body is aware ; from another they steal his reputa- 
tion for idleness and basking in the sun, because it 
is advantageous for their own ends to be regarded 
temporarily as heedless and lazy : — it conceals the 
fact that they lie in ambush; they now use the 
visionaries, now the experts, now the brooders, now 
the pedants in their neighbourhood, as their actual 
selves for the time; but very soon they do not 
need them any longer ! And thus while their en- 
vironment and outside die off continually, every- 
thing seems to crowd into this environment, 
and wants to become a " character " of it ; they 
are like great cities in this respect. Their repute 
is continually in process of mutation, like their 
character, for their changing methods require this 
change, and they show and exhibit sometimes this 
and sometimes that actual or fictitious quality on 
the stage ; their friends and associates, as we have 
said, belong to these stage properties. On the other 
hand, that which they aim at must remain so much 
the more steadfast, and burnished and resplendent 
in the distance,— and this also sometimes needs its 
comedy and its stage-play. 



Commerce and Nodth'iy.— Buying and selling is 
now regarded as something ordinary, like the art 
of reading and writing ; everyone is now trained 
to it even when he is not a tradesman exercising 
himself daily in the art ; precisely as formerly in 
the period of uncivilised humanity, everyone was a 
hunter and exercised himself day by day in the 
art of hunting. Hunting was then something 
common : but just as this finally became a privilege 
of the powerful and noble, and thereby lost the 
character of the commonplace and the ordinary — 
by ceasing to be necessary and by becoming an 
affair of fancy and luxury,— so it might become the 
same some day with buying and selling. Condi- 
tions of society are imaginable in which there will 
be no selling and buying, and in which the necessity 
for this art will become quite lost ; perhaps it may 
then happen that individuals who are less subjected 
to the law of the prevailing condition of things 
will indulge in buying and selling as a luxury of 
sentiment. It is then only that commerce would 
acquire nobility, and the noble would then perhaps 
occupy themselves just as readily with commerce 
as they have done hitherto with war and politics : 
while on the other hand the valuation of politics 
might then have entirely altered. Already even 
politics ceases to be the business of a gentleman ; 
and it is possible that one day it may be found 
to be so vulgar as to be brought, like all party 
literature and daily literature, under the rubric : 
" Prostitution of the intellect." 



Undesirable Disciples. — What shall I do with 
these two youths! called out a philosopher 
dejectedly, who "corrupted" youths, as Socrates 
had once corrupted them, — they are unwelcome 
disciples to me. One of them cannot say " Nay," 
and the other says " Half and half" to everything. 
Provided they grasped my doctrine, the former 
would suffer too much, for my mode of thinking 
requires a martial soul, willingness to cause pain, 
delight in denying, and a hard skin, — he would 
succumb by open wounds and internal injuries. 
And the other will choose the mediocre in every- 
thing he represents, and thus make a mediocrity 
of the whole, — I should like my enemy to have such 
a disciple. 


Outside the Lecture-room. — " In order to prove 
that man after all belongs to the good-natured 
animals, I would remind you how credulous he 
has been for so long a time. It is now only, 
quite late, and after an immense self-conquest, that 
he has become a distrustful animal, — yes ! man is 
now more wicked than ever." — I do not understand 
this ; why should man now be more distrustful and 
more wicked? — "Because now he has science, — 
because he needs to have it ! " — 


Historia abscondita. — Every great man has a 
power which operates backward ; all history is 


again placed on the scales on his account, and a 
thousand secrets of the past crawl out of their 
lurking-places— into his sunlight. There is ab- 
solutely no knowing what history may be some 
day The past is still perhaps undiscovered in 
its essence! There is yet so much reintrepretmg 
ability needed 1 


Heresy and Witchcraft-lo think otherwise 
than is customary-that is by no means so much 
the activity of a better intellect, as the activity of 
strong, wicked inclinations,— severing, isolating, 
refractory, mischief-loving, malicious inclinations. 
Heresy is the counterpart of witchcraft, and is 
certainly just as little a merely harmless affair, 
or a thing worthy of honour in itself. Heretics 
and sorcerers are two kinds of bad men ; they 
have it in common that they also feel themselves 
wicked; their unconquerable delight is to attack 
and injure whatever rules,-whether it be men or 
opinions. The Reformation, a kind of duplication 
of the spirit of the Middle Ages at a time when 
it had no longer a good conscience, produced both 
of these kinds of people in the greatest profusion. 

Last Words.-lt will be recollected that the 
Emperor Augustus, that terrible man, who had 
himself as much in his own power and could 
be silent as well as any wise Socrates, became 
indiscreet about himself in his last words; for 


the first time he let his mask fall, when he gave to 
understand that he had carried a mask and played 
a comedy, — he had played the father of his country 
and wisdom on the throne well, even to the point 
of illusion I Plaudite amiciy comoedia finita est ! — 
The thought of the dying Nero: qualis artifex pereo ! 
was also the thought of the dying Augustus : 
histrionic conceit! histrionic loquacity! And the 
very counterpart to the dying Socrates! — But 
Tiberius died silently, that most tortured of all 
self-torturers, — he was genuine and not a stage- 
player! What may have passed through his 
head in the end ! Perhaps this : " Life — that 
is a long death. I am a fool, who shortened the 
lives of so many ! Was / created for the purpose 
of being a benefactor ? I should have given them 
eternal life : and then I could have seen them dying 
eternally. I had such good eyes for that : qualis 
spectator pereo!" When he seemed once more 
to regain his powers after a long death-struggle, 
it was considered advisable to smother him with 
pillows, — he died a double death. 

Owingto three Errors. — Science has been furthered 
during recent centuries, partly because it was hoped 
that God's goodness and wisdom would be best 
understood therewith and thereby — the principal 
motive in the soul of great Englishmen (like 
Newton) ; partly because the absolute utility of 
knowledge was believed in, and especially the most 
intimate connection of morality, knowledge, and 
happiness — the principal motive in the soul of great 


Frenchmen (like Voltaire) ; and partly because it 
was thought that in science there was something 
unselfish, harmless, self-sufficing, lovable, and truly 
innocent to be had, in which the evil human 
impulses did not at all participate — the principal 
motive in the soul of Spinoza, who felt himself 
divine, as a knowing being : — it is consequently 
owing to three errors that science has been 


Explosive People. — When one considers how 
ready are the forces of young men for discharge, 
one does not wonder at seeing them decide so 
uncritically and with so little selection for this 
or that cause : that which attracts them is the 
sight of eagerness for a cause, as ' it were the 
sight of the burning match — not the cause itself. 
The more ingenious seducers on that account 
operate by holding out the prospect of an explosion 
to such persons, and do not urge their cause by 
means of reasons ; these powder-barrels are not 
won over by means of reasons ! 

Altered Taste. — The alteration of the general 
taste is more important than the alteration of 
opinions ; opinions, with all their proving, refuting, 
and intellectual masquerade, are merely symptoms 
of altered taste, and are certainly not what they 
are still so often claimed to be, the causes of 
the altered taste. How does the general taste 
alter? By the fact of individuals, the powerful 


and influential persons, expressing and tyrannically 
enforcing without any feeling of shame, their hoc 
est ridiculum, hoc est absurdum; the decisions, there- 
fore, of their taste and their disrelish : — they thereby 
lay a constraint upon many people, out of which 
there gradually grows a habituation for still more, 
and finally a necessity for all. The fact, however, 
that these individuals feel and " taste " differently, 
has usually its origin in a peculiarity of their mode 
of life, nourishment, or digestion, perhaps in a 
surplus or deficiency of the inorganic salts in their 
blood and brain, in short in their physis ; they 
have, however, the courage to avow their physical 
constitution, and to lend an ear even to the most 
delicate tones of its requirements : their aesthetic 
and moral judgments are those " most delicate 
tones " of their physis, 


The Lack of a noble Presence. — Soldiers and their 
leaders have always a much higher mode of com- 
portment toward one another than workmen and 
their employers. At present at least, all militarily 
established civilisation still stands high above all 
so-called industrial civilisation; the latter, in its 
present form, is in general the meanest mode of 
existence that has ever been. It is simply the 
law of necessity that operates here : people want 
to live, and have to sell themselves; but they 
despise him who exploits their necessity and 
purchases the workman. It is curious that the 
subjection to powerful, fear-inspiring, and even 
dreadful individuals, to tyrants and leaders of 


armies, is not at all felt so painfully as the sub- 
jection to such undistinguished and uninteresting 
persons as the captains of industry ; in the em- 
ployer the workman usually sees merely a crafty, 
blood-sucking dog of a man, speculating on every 
necessity, whose name, form, character, and reputa- 
tion are altogether indifferent to him. It is prob- 
able that the manufacturers and great magnates 
of commerce have hitherto lacked too much all 
those forms and attributes of a superior race, which 
alone make persons interesting ; if they had had 
the nobility of the nobly-born in their looks and 
bearing, there would perhaps have been no socialism 
in the masses of the people. For these are really 
ready for slavery of every kind, provided that the 
superior class above them constantly shows itself 
legitimately superior, and born to command— by its 
noble presence ! The commonest man feels that 
nobility is not to be improvised, and that it is 
his part to honour it as the fruit of protracted race- 
culture,— but the absence of superior presence, and 
the notorious vulgarity of manufacturers with red, 
fat hands, brings up the thought to him that it is 
only chance and fortune that has here elevated the 
one above the other; well then — so he reasons 
with himself— let us in our turn tempt chance and 
fortune ! Let us in our turn throw the dice !— and 
socialism commences. 


Against Remorse. — The thinker sees in his 
own actions attempts and questionings to obtain 
information about something or other; success 


and failure are answers to him first and foremost. 
To vex himself, however, because something does 
not succeed, or to feel remorse at all — he leaves 
that to those who act because they are commanded 
to do so, and expect to get a beating when their 
gracious master is not satisfied with the result. 


Work and Ennui. — In respect to seeking work 
for the sake of the pay, almost all men are alike 
at present in civilised countries ; to all of them 
work is a means, and not itself the end ; on which 
account they are not very select in the choice of the 
work, provided it yields an abundant profit. But 
still there are rarer men who would rather perish 
than work without delight in their labour : the 
fastidious people, difficult to satisfy, whose object 
is not served by an abundant profit, unless the work 
itself be the reward of all rewards. Artists and 
contemplative men of all kinds belong to this rare 
species of human beings ; and also the idlers who 
spend their life in hunting and travelling, or in 
love-affairs and adventures. They all seek toil 
and trouble in so far as these are associated with 
pleasure, and they want the severest and hardest 
labour, if it be necessary. In other respects, how- 
ever, they have a resolute indolence, even should 
impoverishment, dishonour, and danger to health 
and life be associated therewith. They are not so 
much afraid of ennui as of labour without pleasure ; 
indeed they require much ennui, if their work is to 
succeed with them. For the thinker and for all 
inventive spirits ennui is the unpleasant "calm" 

8q the joyful wisdom, I 

of the soul which precedes the happy voyage and 
the dancing breezes ; he must endure it, he must 
await the effect it has on him :— it is precisely this 
which lesser natures cannot at all experience ! It 
is common to scare away ennui in every way, just 
as it is common to labour without pleasure. It 
perhaps distinguishes the Asiatics above the Euro- 
peans, that they are capable of a longer and pro- 
founder repose ; even their narcotics operate slowly 
and require patience, in contrast to the obnoxious 
suddenness of the European poison, alcohol. 

What the Laws Betray.— On& makes a great mis- 
take when one studies the penal laws of a people, 
as if they were an expression of its character ; the 
laws do not betray what a people is, but what 
appears to them foreign, strange, monstrous, and 
outlandish. The laws concern themselves with the 
exceptions to the morality of custom ; and the 
severest punishments fall on acts which conform to 
the customs of the neighbouring peoples. Thus 
among the Wahabites, there are only two mortal sms : 
having another God than the Wahabite God, and— 
smoking (it is designated by them as "the disgraceful 
kind of drinking"). "And how is it with regard 
to murder and adultery ? "-asked the Englishman 
with astonishment on learning these thmgs. Wei, 
God is gracious and pitiful!" answered the old 
chief —Thus among the ancient Romans there was 
the idea that a woman could only sin mortally in 
two ways : by adultery on the one hand, and— by 
wine-drinking on the other. Old Cato pretended 


that kissing among relatives had only been made 
a custom in order to keep women in control on this 
point ; a kiss meant : did her breath smell of wine ? 
Wives had actually been punished by death who 
were surprised taking wine : and certainly not 
merely because women under the influence of wine 
sometimes unlearn altogether the art of saying No ; 
the Romans were afraid above all things of the orgi- 
astic and Dionysian spirit with which the women 
of Southern Europe at that time (when wine 
was still new in Europe) were sometimes visited, 
as by a monstrous foreignness which subverted 
the basis of Roman sentiments; it seemed to 
them treason against Rome, as the embodiment 
of foreignness. 


The Believed Motive. — However important it may 
be to know the motives according to which man- 
kind has really acted hitherto, perhaps the belief 
in this or that motive, and therefore that which 
mankind has assumed and imagined to be the 
actual mainspring of its activity hitherto, is some- 
thing still more essential for the thinker to know. 
For the internal happiness and misery of men 
have always come to them through their belief in 
this or that motive, — not however, through that 
which was actually the motive! All about the 
latter has an interest of secondary rank. 

Epicurus, — Yes, I am proud of perceiving the 
character of Epicurus differently from anyone else 


perhaps, and of enjoying the happiness of the 
afternoon of antiquity in all that I hear and read 
of him:— I see his eye gazing out on a broad 
whitish sea, over the shore-rocks on which the 
sunshine rests, while great and small creatures play 
in its light, secure and calm like this light and that 
eye itself. Such happiness could only have been 
devised by a chronic sufferer, the happiness of an 
eye before which the sea of existence has become 
calm, and which can no longer tire of gazing at the 
surface and at the variegated, tender, tremulous 
skin of this sea. Never previously was there such a 
moderation of voluptuousness. 

Our Astonishment— There is a profound and 
fundamental satisfaction in the fact that science 
ascertains things that hold their ground, and again 
furnish the basis for new researches :— it could 
certainly be otherwise. Indeed, we are so much 
convinced of all the uncertainty and caprice of our 
judgments, and of the everlasting change of all 
human laws and conceptions, that we are really 
astonished how persistently the results of science 
hold their ground ! In earlier times people knew 
nothing of this changeability of all human things ; 
the custom of morality maintained the belief that 
the whole inner life of man was bound to iron 
necessity by eternal fetters :— perhaps people then 
felt a similar voluptuousness of astonishment when 
they listened to tales and fairy stories. The 
wonderful did so much good to those men, who 
might well get tired sometimes of the regular and 


the eternal. To leave the ground for once 1 To 
soar ! To stray ! To be mad ! — that belonged to 
the paradise and the revelry of earlier times ; while 
our felicity is like that of the shipwrecked man 
who has gone ashore, and places himself with both 
feet on the old, firm ground — in astonishment that 
it does not rock. 

The Suppression of the Passions. — When one 
continually prohibits the expression of the passions 
as something to be left to the " vulgar," to coarser, 
bourgeois, and peasant natures — that is, when one 
does not want to suppress the passions themselves, 
but only their language and demeanour, one never- 
theless realises therewith just what one does not 
want : the suppression of the passions themselves, 
or at least their weakening and alteration, — as the 
court of Louis XIV. (to cite the most instructive 
instance), and all that was dependent on it, ex- 
perienced. The generation that followed^ trained 
in suppressing their expression, no longer pos- 
sessed the passions themselves, but had a pleasant, 
superficial, playful disposition in their place, — 
a generation which was so permeated with the 
incapacity to be ill-mannered, that even an injury 
was not taken and retaliated, except with court- 
eous words. Perhaps our own time furnishes 
the most remarkable counterpart to this period : 
I see everywhere (in life, in the theatre, and not 
least in all that is written) satisfaction at all the 
coarser outbursts and gestures of passion ; a certain 
convention of passionateness is now desired, — 


only not the passion itself! Nevertheless // will 
thereby be at last reached, and our posterity wil 
have a genuine savagery,^ and not merely a formal 
savagery and unmannerliness. 

Knowledge of Distress. -Vexh^ps there is nothing 
by which men and periods are so much separated 
from one another, as by the different degrees of 
knowledge of distress which they possess ; distress 
of the soul as well as of the body. With respect 
to the latter, owing to lack of sufficient self- 
experience, we men of the present day (in spite 
of our deficiencies and infirmities), are perhaps all 
of us blunderers and visionaries in comparison 
with the men of the age of fear -the longest 
of all ages,— when the individual had to pro- 
tect himself against violence, and for that purpose 
had to be a man of violence himself At that time 
a man went through a long schooling of corporeal 
tortures and privations, and found even in a certain 
kind of cruelty toward himself, in a voluntary use 
of pain, a necessary means for his preservation; 
at that time a person trained his environment to 
the endurance of pain; at that time a Pe^^ori 
willingly inflicted pain, and saw the most frightful 
things of this kind happen to others, without 
having any other feeling than for his own 
security. As regards the distress of the soul 
however, I now look at every man with respect 
to whether he knows it by experience or by 
description ; whether he still regards it as necessary 
to simulate this knowledge, perhaps as an indica- 


tion of more refined culture ; or whether, at the 
bottom of his heart, he does not at all believe 
in great sorrows of soul, and at the naming of 
them calls to mind a similar experience as at the 
naming of great corporeal sufferings, such as tooth- 
aches, and stomach-aches. It is thus, however, 
that it seems to be with most people at present. 
Owing to the universal inexperience of both kinds 
of pain, and the comparative rarity of the spectacle 
of a sufferer, an important consequence results : 
people now hate pain far more than earlier man 
did, and calumniate it worse than ever ; indeed 
people nowadays can hardly endure the thought 
of pain, and make out of it an affair of con- 
science and a reproach to collective existence. 
The appearance of pessimistic philosophies is 
not at all the sign of great and dreadful miseries; 
for these interrogative marks regarding the worth 
of life appear in periods when the refinement 
and alleviation of existence already deem the 
unavoidable gnat-stings of the soul and body 
as altogether too bloody and wicked ; and in the 
poverty of actual experiences of pain, would now 
like to make painful general ideas appear as 
suffering of the worst kind. — There might indeed 
be a remedy for pessimistic philosophies and 
the excessive sensibility which seems to me the 
real " distress of the present " : — but perhaps this 
remedy already sounds too cruel, and would itself 
be reckoned among the symptoms owing to which 
people at present conclude that " existence is some- 
thing evil." Well 1 the remedy for " the distress " 
is distress. 


Magnanimity and allied e»«««^.-Those para- 
doxicfl phenomena, such as the sudden coldness 
in the demeanour of good-natured men, the humour 
of the melancholy, and above all magnantm.ty.^s 
a sudden renunciation of revenge or of the grat - 
fication of envy-appear in men m whom 'here .s 
a powerful inner impulsiveness, m men of sudden 
satiety and sudden disgust. Their satisfactions are 
so rapid and violent that satiety, aversion and 
Hight into the antithetical taste, immediately follow 
upon them : in this contrast the convulsion of 
filing liberates itself, in one person by sudden 
coldness, in another by laughter, and in a third 
by tear; and self-sacrifice. The -"-g"^"™"";, 
irson appears to me-at least that kmd of 
maranir^ous person who has always made most 
tapression-as a man with the strongest thirst for 
vengeance, to whom a gratification P«=«f '^^'^ 
cJe at hand, and who already drinks it off .« 
imagination so copiously, thoroughly, and to the 
last drop, that an excessive, rapid disgust follows 
this rapid licentiousness ;-he now elevates himself 
'abJve'himself." as one says, and forgiv^ his 
enemy, yea, blesses and honours him. With this 
vXce done to himself, however, with this mockery 
of his impulse to revenge, even still so powerM 
he merely yields to the new impulse, the disgust 
whi"h ha's become powerful, and does this jus 
as impatiently and licentiously, as a short time 
previously ^forestalled, and as it were exhausted 
the]oy of revenge with his fantasy. In magnanimity 


there is the same amount of egoism as in revenge, 
but a different quality of egoism. 


The Argument of Isolation. — The reproach of 
conscience, even in the most conscientious, is weak 
against the feeling: "This and that are contrary 
to the good morals oi your society." A cold glance 
or a wry mouth on the part of those among whom 
and for whom one has been educated, is sWW feared 
even by the strongest. What is really feared there ? 
Isolation \ as the argument which demolishes even 
the best arguments for a person or cause! — It is 
thus that the gregarious instinct speaks in us. 


Sense for Truth. — Commend me to all scepticism 
where I am permitted to answer : " Let us put it to 
the test ! " But I don't wish to hear anything more 
of things and questions which do not admit of being 
tested. That is the limit of my " sense for truth " : 
for bravery has there lost its right. 

What others Know of «j.— That which we know 
of ourselves and have in our memory is not so 
decisive for the happiness of our life as is generally 
believed. One day it flashes upon our mind what 
others know of us (or think they know)— and then 
we acknowledge that it is the more powerful. We 
get on with our bad conscience more easily than 
with our bad reputation. 


Where Goodness Begins. — Where bad eyesight can 
no longer see the evil impulse as such, on account 
of its refinement,— there man sets up the kingdom 
of goodness ; and the feeling of having now gone 
over into the kingdom of goodness brings all those 
impulses (such as the feelings of security, of com- 
fortableness, of benevolence) into simultaneous 
activity, which were threatened and confined by 
the evil impulses. Consequently, the duller the eye 
so much the further does goodness extend ! Hence 
the eternal cheerfulness of the populace and of 
children ! Hence the gloominess and grief (allied 
to the bad conscience) of great thinkers. 

The Consciousness of Appearance. — How won- 
derfully and novelly, and at the same time how 
awfully and ironically, do I feel myself situated 
with respect to collective existence, with my know- 
ledge ! I have discovered for myself that the old 
humanity and animality, yea, the collective primeval 
age, and the past of all sentient being, continues to 
meditate, love, hate, and reason in me,— I have 
suddenly awoke in the midst of this dream, but 
merely to the consciousness that I just dream, and 
that I must dream on in order not to perish ; just 
as the sleep-walker must dream on in order not to 
tumble down. What is it that is now "appear- 
ance" to me! Verily, not the antithesis of any 
kind of essence,— what knowledge can I assert of 
any kind of essence whatsoever, except merely the 


predicates of its appearance ! Verily not a dead 
mask which one could put upon an unknown X, 
and which to be sure one could also remove ! 
Appearance is for me the operating and living 
thing itself; which goes so far in its self-mockery 
as to make me feel that here there is appearance, 
and Will o' the Wisp, and spirit-dance, and nothing 
more, — that among all these dreamers, I also, the 
"thinker," dance my dance, that the thinker 
is a means of prolonging further the terrestrial 
dance, and in so far is one of the masters of 
ceremony of existence, and that the sublime con- 
sistency and connectedness of all branches of 
knowledge is perhaps, and will perhaps, be the 
best means for maintaining the universality of the 
dreaming, the complete, mutual understandability 
of all those dreamers, and thereby tha duration of 
the dream. 


The Ultimate Nobility of Character. — What then 
makes a person " noble " ? Certainly not that he 
makes sacrifices ; even the frantic libertine makes 
sacrifices. Certainly not that he generally follows 
his passions ; there are contemptible passions. 
Certainly not that he does something for others, 
and without selfishness ; perhaps the effect of 
selfishness is precisely at its greatest in the 
noblest persons. — But that the passion which 
seizes the noble man is a peculiarity, without his 
knowing that it is so: the use of a rare and 
singular measuring-rod, almost a frenzy : the feel- 
ing of heat in things which feel cold to all othqr 


persons : a divining of values for which scales have 
not yet been invented : a sacrificing on altars which 
are consecrated to an unknown God : a bravery 
without the desire for honour: a self-sufficiency 
which has superabundance, and imparts to men and 
things. Hitherto, therefore, it has been the rare 
in man, and the unconsciousness of this rareness, 
that has made men noble. Here, however, let us 
consider that everything ordinary, immediate, and 
indispensable, in short, what has been most pre- 
servative of the species, and generally the rulem 
mankind hitherto, has been judged unreasonable 
and calumniated in its entirety by this standard, 
in favour of the exceptions. To become the 
advocate of the rule-that may P^^haps be the 
ultimate form and refinement in which nobility of 
character will reveal itself on earth. 

The Desire for Suffering.-V^h^v^ I think of the 
desire to do something, how it continually tickles 
and stimulates millions of young Europeans, who 
cannot endure themselves and all their ennui.- 
I conceive that there must be a desire in them to 
suffer something, in order to derive from their 
suffering a worthy motive for acting, for doing 
something. Distress is necessary ! Hence the cry 
of the politicians, hence the many false trumped- 
up, exaggerated "states of distress" of all possible 
kinds, and the blind readiness to believe in them 
This young world desires that there should arrive 
or appear from the outside-not happmess-but 
misfortune; and their imagination is already 


busy beforehand to form a monster out of it, so 
that they may afterwards be able to fight with a 
monster. If these distress-seekers felt the power 
to benefit themselves, to do something for themselves 
from internal sources, they would also understand 
how to create a distress of their own, specially their 
own, from internal sources. Their inventions might 
then be more refined, and their gratifications might 
sound like good music : while at present they fill 
the world with their cries of distress, and conse- 
quently too often with the feeling of distress in 
the first place 1 They do not know what to make 
of themselves — and so they paint the misfortune of 
others on the wall ; they always need others ! 
And always again other others ! — Pardon me, my 
friends, I have ventured to paint my happiness on 
the wall. 



To the Realists. — Ye sober beings, who feel your- 
selves armed against passion and fantasy, and 
would gladly make a pride and an ornament out 
of your emptiness, ye call yourselves realists, and 
give to understand that the world is actually 
constituted as it appears to you ; before you alone 
reality stands unveiled, and ye yourselves would 
perhaps be the best part of it, — oh, ye dear images 
of Sais! But are not ye also in your unveiled 
condition still extremely passionate and dusky 
beings compared with the fish, and still all too like 
an enamoured artist ? * — and what is " reality " to 
an enamoured artist! Ye still carry about with 
you the valuations of things which had their origin 
in the passions and infatuations of earlier centuries ! 
There is still a secret and ineffaceable drunken- 
ness embodied in your sobriety! Your love of 
" reality," for example— oh, that is an old, primitive 
" love " ! In every feeling, in every sense-impres- 
sion, there is a portion of this old love: and 
similariy also some kind of fantasy, prejudice, 
irrationality, ignorance, fear, and whatever else 
has become mingled and woven into it. There 
is that mountain ! There is that cloud ! What 

* Schiller's poem, "The Veiled Image oi Sais," is again 
referred to here. — Tr. 



is " real " in them ? Remove the phantasm and 
the whole human element therefrom, ye sober 
ones! Yes, if ye could do that! If ye could 
forget your origin, your past, your preparatory 
schooling, — your whole history as man and beast ! 
There is no " reality " for us — nor for you either, ye 
sober ones, — we are far from being so alien to one 
another as ye suppose ; and perhaps our good-will 
to get beyond drunkenness is just as respectable 
as your belief that ye are altogether incapable of 


Only as Creators ! — It has caused me the greatest 
trouble, and for ever causes me the greatest trouble, 
to perceive that unspeakably more depends upon 
what things are called, than on what they are. 
The reputation, the name and appearance, the 
importance, the usual measure and weight of 
things — each being in origin most frequently 
an error and arbitrariness thrown over the things 
like a garment, and quite alien to their essence and 
even to their exterior — have gradually, by the 
belief therein and its continuous growth from 
generation to generation, grown as it were on- 
and-into things and become their very body ; the 
appearance at the very beginning becomes almost 
always the essence in the end, and operates 
as the essence! What a fool he would be who 
would think it enough to refer here to this 
origin and this nebulous veil of illusion, in order 
to annihilate that which virtually passes for the 
world— namely, so-called " reality " 1 It is only as 


creators that we can annihilate! — But let us not 
forget this : it suffices to create new names and 
valuations and probabilities, in order in the long 
run to create new " things." 


We Artists! — When we love a woman we have 
readily a hatred against nature, on recollecting all 
the disagreeable natural functions to which every 
woman is subject ; we prefer not to think of 
them at all, but if once our soul touches on 
these things it twitches impatiently, and glances, 
as we have said, contemptuously at nature : — 
we are hurt; nature seems to encroach upon 
our possessions, and with the profanest hands. 
We then shut our ears against all physiology, and 
we decree in secret that "we will hear nothing 
of the fact that man is something else than 
soul and form!" "The man under the skin" is 
an abomination and monstrosity, a blasphemy of 
God and of love to all lovers. — Well, just as the 
lover still feels with respect to nature and natural 
functions, so did every worshipper of God and his 
" holy omnipotence " feel formerly : in all that was 
said of nature by astronomers, geologists, physiolo- 
gists, and physicians, he saw an encroachment on 
his most precious possession, and consequently an 
attack, — and moreover also an impertinence of 
the assailant! The "law of nature" sounded to 
him as blasphemy against God ; in truth he would 
too willingly have seen the whole of mechanics 
traced back to moral acts of volition and arbitrari- 


ness : — but because nobody could render him this 
service, he concealed nature and mechanism from 
himself as best he could, and lived in a dream. 
Oh, those men of former times understood how to 

dream, and did not need first to go to sleep ! and 

we men of the present day also still understand 
it too well, with all our good-will for wakefulness 
and daylight! It suffices to love, to hate, to 
desire, and in general to feel, — immediately the 
spirit and the power of the dream come over us, 
and we ascend, with open eyes and indifferent 
to all danger, the most dangerous paths, to the 
roofs and towers of fantasy, and without any 
giddiness, as persons born for climbing — we the 
night-walkers by day! We artists! We con- 
cealers of naturalness ! We moon-struck and God- 
struck ones ! We death-silent, untiring wanderers 
on heights which we do not see as heights, but as 
our plains, as our places of safety ! 


Women and their Effect in the Distance. — Have 
I still ears? Am I only ear, and nothing else 
besides? Here I stand in the midst of the 
surging of the breakers, whose white flames fork 
up to my feet; — from all sides there is howling, 
threatening, crying, and screaming at me, while in 
the lowest depths the old earth-shaker sings his ari a 
hollow like a roaring bull ; he beats such an earth-' 
shaker's measure thereto, that even the hearts of 
these weathered rock-monsters tremble at the 
sound. Then, suddenly, as if born out of nothing- 


ness, there appears before the portal of this hellish 
labyrinth, only a few fathoms distant, — a great 
sailing-ship gliding silently along like a ghost. 
Oh, this ghostly beauty ! With what enchantment 
it seizes me! What? Has all the repose and 
silence in the world embarked here? Does my 
happiness itself sit in this quiet place, my happier 
ego, my second immortalised self? Still not 
dead, but also no longer living ? As a ghost-like, 
calm, gazing, gliding, sweeping, neutral being? 
Similar to the ship, which, with its white sails, like 
an immense butterfly, passes over the dark sea! 
Yes ! Passing over existence ! That is it ! That 

would be it ! It seems that the noise here has 

made me a visionary ? All great noise causes one 
to place happiness in the calm and the distance. 
When a man is in the midst of his hubbub, in the 
midst of the breakers of his plots and plans, 
he there sees perhaps calm, enchanting beings 
glide past him, for whose happiness and retirement 
he longs — they are women. He almost thinks that 
there with the women dwells his better self ; that 
in these calm places even the loudest breakers 
become still as death, and life itself a dream of life. 
But still ! but still ! my noble enthusiast, there 
is also in the most beautiful sailing-ship so much 
noise and bustling, and alas, so much petty, piti- 
able bustling ! The enchantment and the most 
powerful effect of women is, to use the language 
of philosophers, an effect at a distance, an actio in 
distans ; there belongs thereto, however, primarily 
and above all, — distance ! 



In Honour of Friendship.— Thdl the sentiment 
of friendship was regarded by antiquity as the 
highest sentiment, higher even than the most 
vaunted pride of the self-sufficient and wise, yea, as 
it were its sole and still holier brotherhood, is 
very well expressed by the story of the Macedonian 
king who made the present of a talent to a cynical 
Athenian philosopher from whom he received it 
back again. "What?" said the king, "has he then 
no friend ? " He therewith meant to say, " I honour 
this pride of the wise and independent man, but 
I should have honoured his humanity still higher, 
if the friend in him had gained the victory over his 
pride. The philosopher has lowered himself in my 
estimation, for he showed that he did not know 

one of the two highest sentiments— and in fact the 

higher of them ! " 

Love.— LovQ pardons even the passion of the 


Woman in Music— Uow does it happen that 

warm and rainy winds bring the musical mood 

and the inventive delight in melody with them ? 

Are they not the same winds that fill the churches 

and give women amorous thoughts ? 

Sceptics.— I fear that women who have grown old 
are more sceptical in the secret recesses of their 


hearts than any of the men ; they believe in the 
superficiality of existence as in its essence, and 
all virtue and profundity is to them only the dis- 
guising of this " truth," the very desirable disguising 
of a pudendum,— 2.n affair, therefore, of decency 
and modesty, and nothing more I 

Devotedness. — There are noble women with a 
certain poverty of spirit, who, in order to express 
their profoundest devotedness, have no other alter- 
native but to offer their virtue and modesty : it is 
the highest thing they have. And this present 
is often accepted without putting the recipient 
under such deep obligation as the giver supposed, 
— a very melancholy story ! 

The Strength of the M^^<2/^.— Women are all skil- 
ful in exaggerating their weaknesses, indeed they are 
inventive in weaknesses, so as to seem quite fragile 
ornaments to which even a grain of dust does 
harm ; their existence is meant to bring home to 
man's mind his coarseness, and to appeal to his 
conscience. They thus defend themselves against 
the strong and all " rights of might." 


Self -dissembling. — She loves him now and has 
since been looking forth with as quiet confidence 
as a cow ; but alas ! It was precisely his delight 
that she seemed so fitful and absolutely incompre- 
hensible ! He had rather too much steady weather 


in himself already! Would she not do well to 
feign her old character? to feign indifference? 
Does not— love itself advise her to do so? Vivat 
comoedia ! 


Will and Willingness. —Some one brought a 
youth to a wise man, and said, " See, this is one 
who is being corrupted by women!" The wise 
man shook his head and smiled. " It is men," he 
called out, "who corrupt women; and everything 
that women lack should be atoned for and improved 
in men,— for man creates for himself the ideal of 
woman, and woman moulds herself according to 
this ideal."—" You are too tender-hearted towards 
women," said one of the bystanders, " you do not 
know them ! " The wise man answered : " Man's 
attribute is will, woman's attribute is willingness,— 
such is the law of the sexes, verily 1 a hard law for 
woman ! All human beings are innocent of their 
existence, women, however, are doubly innocent; 
who could have enough of salve and gentleness for 
them ! "—"What about salve ! What about gentle- 
ness ! " called out another person in the crowd, " we 
must educate women better ! "— " We must educate 
men better," said the wise man, and made a sign 
to the youth to follow him.— The youth, however, 
did not follow him. 


Capacity for Revenge.— Th?^ a person cannot 
and consequently will not defend himself, does 
not yet cast disgrace upon him in our eyes ; but 


we despise the person who has neither the ability 
nor the good-will for revenge — whether it be 
a man or a woman. Would a woman be able 
to captivate us (or, as people say, to "fetter" 
us) whom we did not credit with knowing how 
to employ the dagger (any kind of dagger) 
skilfully against us under certain circumstances? 
Or against herself; which in a certain case might 
be the severest revenge (the Chinese revenge). 


The Mistresses oj the Masters. — A powerful con- 
tralto voice, as we occasionally hear it in the 
theatre, raises suddenly for us the curtain on 
possibilities in which we usually do not believe ; 
all at once we are convinced that somewhere in the 
world there may be women with high, heroic, royal 
souls, capable and prepared for magnificent remon- 
strances, resolutions, and self-sacrifices, capable and 
prepared for domination over men, because in 
them the best in man, superior to sex, has become 
a corporeal ideal. To be sure, it is not the inten- 
tion of the theatre that such voices should give 
such a conception of women ; they are usually 
intended to represent the ideal male lover, 
for example, a Romeo ; but, to judge by my 
experience, the theatre regularly miscalculates here, 
and the musician also, who expects such effects 
from such a voice. People do not believe in these 
lovers; these voices still contain a tinge of the 
motherly and housewifely character, and most of 
all when love is in their tone. 


On Female Chastity.— ThexQ is something quite 
astonishing and extraordinary in the education of 
women of the higher class ; indeed, there is perhaps 
nothing more paradoxical. All the world is agreed 
to educate them with as much ignorance as possible 
in eroticis, and to inspire their soul with a profound 
shame of such things, and the extremest impatience 
and horror at the suggestion of them. It is really 
here only that all the " honour " of woman is at 
stake ; what would one not forgive them in other 
respects! But here they are intended to remain 
ignorant to the very backbone : — they are intended 
to have neither eyes, ears, words, nor thoughts for 
this, their " wickedness " ; indeed knowledge here is 
already evil. And then! To be hurled as with 
an awful thunderbolt into reality and knowledge 
with marriage— and indeed by him whom they 
most love and esteem : to have to encounter love 
and shame in contradiction, yea, to have to feel 
rapture, abandonment, duty, sympathy, and fright 
at the unexpected proximity of God and animal, 
and whatever else besides! all at once! — There, 
in fact, a psychic entanglement has been effected 
which is quite unequalled ! Even the sympathetic 
curiosity of the wisest discerner of men does not 
suffice to divine how this or that woman gets along 
with the solution of this enigma and the enigma 
of this solution ; what dreadful, far-reaching sus- 
picions must awaken thereby in the poor unhinged 
soul; and forsooth, how the ultimate philosophy 
and scepticism of the woman casts anchor at this 


point! — Afterwards the same profound silence as be- 
fore : and often even a silence to herself, a shutting 
of her eyes to herself— Young wives on that account 
make great efforts to appear superficial and thought- 
less ; the most ingenious of them simulate a kind 
of impudence. — Wives easily feel their husbands as 
a question-mark to their honour, and their children 
as an apology or atonement, — they require children, 
and wish for them in quite another spirit than a 
husband wishes for them. — In short, one cannot 
be gentle enough towards women ! 


Mothers. — Animals think differently from men 
with respect to females ; with them the female is 
regarded as the productive being. There is no 
paternal love among them, but there is such a 
thing as love of the children of a beloved, and 
habituation to them. In the young, the females 
find gratification for their lust of dominion ; the 
young are a property, an occupation, something 
quite comprehensible to them, with which they 
can chatter : all this conjointly is maternal love, — 
it is to be compared to the love of the artist for 
his work. Pregnancy has made the females gentler, 
more expectant, more timid, more submissively 
inclined ; and similarly intellectual pregnancy en- 
genders the character of the contemplative, who 
are allied to women in character: — they are the 
masculine mothers. — Among animals the masculine 
sex is regarded as the beautiful sex. 


Saintly Cruelty.— h man holding a newly born 
child in his hands came to a saint. « What should 
I do with this child," he asked, "it is wretched, 
deformed, and has not even enough o^ ^^fe ^^ 
die." "Kill it," cried the saint with a dreadful 
voice, "kill it, 'and then hold it in thy arms for 
three days and three nights to brand it on thy 
memory —thus wilt thou never again beget a child 
when it is not the time for thee to beget"— When 
the man had heard this he went away disappointed ; 
and many found fault with the saint because he 
had advised cruelty ; for he had advised to kill the 
child. "But is it not more cruel to let it live? 
asked the saint. 

The Unsuccessful.— Those poor women always fail 
of success who become agitated and uncertain, and 
talk too much in presence of him whom they love ; 
for men are most successfully seduced by a 
certain subtle and phlegmatic tenderness. 

The Third Sex.—"A small man is a paradox, 
but still a man,— but a small woman seems to 
me to be of another sex in comparison with well- 
grown ones"— said an old dancing-master. A 
small woman is never beautiful-said old Aristotle. 

The greatest Danger.— "A^^ there not at all times 
been a larger number of men who regarded the 


cultivation of their mind — their "rationality" — 
as their pride, their obligation, their virtue, and 
were injured or shamed by all play of fancy and 
extravagance of thinking — as lovers of "sound 
common sense " : — mankind would long ago have 
perished ! Incipient insanity has hovered, and 
hovers continually over mankind as its greatest 
danger : it is precisely the breaking out of in- 
clination in feeling, seeing, and hearing ; the enjoy- 
ment of the unruliness of the mind ; the delight in 
human unreason. It is not truth and certainty 
that is the antithesis of the world of the insane, 
but the universality and all-obligatoriness of a 
belief, in short, non-voluntariness in forming 
opinions. And the greatest labour of human be- 
ings hitherto has been to agree with one another 
regarding a number of things, and to impose 
upon themselves a law of agreement — indifferent 
whether these things are true or false. This is 
the discipline of the mind which has preserved 
mankind ; — but the counter-impulses are still so 
powerful that one can really speak of the future of 
mankind with little confidence. The ideas of 
things still continually shift and move, and will 
perhaps alter more than ever in the future ; it is 
continually the most select spirits themselves who 
strive against universal obligatoriness — the investi- 
gators of truth above all ! The accepted belief, as 
the belief of all the world, continually engenders a 
disgust and a new longing in the more ingenious 
minds; and already the slow tempo which it de- 
mands for all intellectual processes (the imitation 
of the tortoise, which is here recognised as the rule) 


makes the artists and poets runaways : — it is in 
these impatient spirits that a downright deHght in 
delirium breaks out, because delirium has such a 
joyful tempo! Virtuous intellects, therefore, are 
needed — ah ! I want to use the least ambiguous 
word, — virtuous stupidity is needed, imperturbable 
conductors of the slow spirits are needed, in order 
that the faithful of the great collective belief may 
remain with one another and dance their dance 
further : it is a necessity of the first importance 
that here enjoins and demands. We others are the 
exceptions and the danger^ — we eternally need pro- 
tection ! — Well, there can actually be something 
said in favour of the exceptions provided that they 
never want to become the rule. 


The Animal with good Conscience. — It is not 
unknown to me that there is vulgarity in every- 
thing that pleases Southern Europe — whether it 
be Italian opera (for example, Rossini's and 
Bellini's), or the Spanish adventure-romance (most 
readily accessible to us in the French garb of Gil 
Bias) — but it does not offend me, any more than 
the vulgarity which one encounters in a walk 
through Pompeii, or even in the reading of every 
ancient book : what is the reason of this ? Is 
it because shame is lacking here, and because the 
vulgar always comes forward just as sure and 
certain of itself as anything noble, lovely, and 
passionate in the same kind of music or romance ? 
" The animal has its rights like man, so let it 
run about freely ; and you, my dear fellow-man, 


are still this animal, in spite of all!" — that 
seems to me the moral of the case, and the 
peculiarity of southern humanity. Bad taste has 
its rights like good taste, and even a prerogative 
over the latter when it is the great requisite, the 
sure satisfaction, and as it were a universal language, 
an immediately intelligible mask and attitude; 
the excellent, select taste on the other hand has 
always something of a seeking, tentative character, 
not fully certain that it understands,— it is never, 
and has never been popular ! The masque is and 
remains popular! So let all this masquerade 
run along in the melodies and cadences, in the 
leaps and merriment of the rhythm of these operas ! 
Quite the ancient life ! What does one understand 
of it, if one does not understand the delight in the 
masque, the good conscience of all masquerade! 
Here is the bath and the refreshment of the ancient 
spirit: — and perhaps this bath was still more 
necessary for the rare and sublime natures of the 
ancient world than for the vulgar.— On the other 
hand, a vulgar turn in northern works, for example 
in German music, offends me unutterably. There 
is shame in it, the artist has lowered himself in 
his own sight, and could not even avoid blushing : 
we are ashamed with him, and are so hurt because 
we surmise that he believed he had to lower him- 
self on our account. 


What we should be Grateful for.— It is only the 
artists, and especially the theatrical artists, who 
have furnished men with eyes and ears to hear and 


see with some pleasure what everyone is in him- 
self, what he experiences and aims at : it is only 
they who have taught us how to estimate the hero 
that is concealed in each of these common-place 
men, and the art of looking at ourselves from a 
distance as heroes, and as it were simplified and 
transfigured,— the art of " putting ourselves on the 
stage" before ourselves. It is thus only that we 
get beyond some of the paltry details in ourselves 1 
Without that art we should be nothing but fore- 
ground, and would live absolutely under the spell 
of the perspective which makes the closest and the 
commonest seem immensely large and like reality 

in itself. Perhaps there is merit of a similar kind 

in the religion which commanded us to look at the 
sinfulness of every individual man with a magnify- 
ing-glass, and made a great, immortal criminal 
of the sinner; in that it put eternal perspec- 
tives around man, it taught him to see himself 
from a distance, and as something past, something 


The Charm of Imperfection.— \ see here a poet, 
who, like so many men, exercises a higher charm 
by his imperfections than by all that is rounded off 
and takes perfect shape under his hands,— indeed, 
he derives his advantage and reputation far more 
from his actual limitations than from his abun- 
dant powers. His work never expresses altogether 
what he would really like to express, what he 
would like to have seen: he appears to have had 
the foretaste of a vision and never the vision 


itself :— but an extraordinary longing for this vision 
has remained in his soul ; and from this he 
derives his equally extraordinary eloquence of 
longing and craving. With this he raises those 
who listen to him above his work and above all 
" works," and gives them wings to rise higher than 
hearers have ever risen before, thus making them 
poets and seers themselves ; they then show an ad- 
miration for the originator of their happiness, as if 
he had led them immediately to the vision of his 
holiest and ultimate verities, as if he had reached 
his goal, and had actually seen and communicated 
his vision. It is to the advantage of his reputa- 
tion that he has not really arrived at his goal. 

Art and Nature.— T^q Greeks (or at least the 
Athenians) liked to hear good talking : indeed 
they had an eager inclination for it, which dis- 
tinguished them more than anything else from 
non-Greeks. And so they required good talking 
even from passion on the stage, and submitted to 
the unnaturalness of dramatic verse with delight : 
—in nature, forsooth, passion is so sparing of words ! 
so dumb and confused ! Or if it finds words, so 
embarrassed and irrational and a shame to itself! 
We have now, all of us, thanks to the Greeks, 
accustomed ourselves to this unnaturalness on the 
stage, as we endure that other unnaturalness, the 
singing passion, and willingly endure it, thanks to 
the Italians.— It has become a necessity to us, which 
we cannot satisfy out of the resources of actuality, 
to hear men talk well and in full detail in the most 


trying situations : it enraptures us at present when 
the tragic hero still finds words, reasons, eloquent 
gestures, and on the whole a bright spirituality, 
where life approaches the abysses, and where the 
actual man mostly loses his head, and certainly 
his fine language. This kind of deviation from 
nature is perhaps the most agreeable repast for 
man's pride : he loves art generally on account of 
it, as the expression of high, heroic unnatural- 
ness and convention. One rightly objects to the 
dramatic poet when he does not transform every- 
thing into reason and speech, but always retains a 
remnant oi silence : — ^just as one is dissatisfied with 
an operatic musician who cannot find a melody 
for the highest emotion, but only an emotional, 
"natural" stammering and crying. Here nature 
has to be contradicted ! Here the common 
charm of illusion has to give place to a higher 
charm ! The Greeks go far, far in this direction 
— frightfully far! As they constructed the stage 
as narrow as possible and dispensed with all the 
effect of deep backgrounds, as they made panto- 
mime and easy motion impossible to the actor, and 
transformed him into a solemn, stiff", masked bogey, 
so they have also deprived passion itself of its deep 
background, and have dictated to it a law of fine 
talk ; indeed, they have really done everything to 
counteract the elementary effect of representa- 
tions that inspire pity and terror : they did not 
want pity and terror, — with due deference, with 
the highest deference to Aristotle! but he 
certainly did not hit the nail, to say nothing 
of the head of the nail, when he spoke about the 


final aim of Greek tragedy ! Let us but look at 
the Grecian tragic poets with respect to what most 
excited their diligence, their inventiveness, and their 
emulation, — certainly it was not the intention of 
subjugating the spectators by emotion! The 
Athenian went to the theatre to hear fine talking! 

And fine talking was arrived at by Sophocles ! 

pardon me this heresy ! — It is very different with 
serious opera : all its masters make it their business 
to prevent their personages being understood. 
" An occasional word picked up may come to the 
assistance of the inattentive listener ; but on the 

whole the situation must be self-explanatory, 

the talking is of no account ! " — so they all think, 
and so they have all made fun of the words. 
Perhaps they have only lacked courage to express 
fully their extreme contempt for words : a little 
additional insolence in Rossini, and he would have 
allowed la-la-la-la to be sung throughout — and it 
might have been the rational course ! The person- 
ages of the opera are not meant to be believed 
" in their words," but in their tones ! That is the 
difference, that is the fine unnaturalness on account 
of which people go to the opera ! Even the recita- 
tivo secco is not really intended to be heard as 
words and text : this kind of half-music is meant 
rather in the first place to give the musical ear a 
little repose (the repose from melody, as from the 
sublimest, and on that account the most straining 
enjoyment of this art),— but very soon something 
different results, namely, an increasing impatience, 
an increasing resistance, a new longing for entire 
music, for melody.— How is it with the art of 


Richard Wagner as seen from this standpoint? Is 
uLhaps the same? I would 
oton seem to me as if one needed to have learned 
by heart both the words and the »"='^ jf J"= 
Jeations before the performances; ^^ «*°" 
that-so it seemed to me-one may hear neither 
the words, nor even the music. 


Grecian Taste.-" ^h^A is beautiful in it?"- 
asked a certain geometrician, after a P-forman e 
of the iphigenia-" there is nothmg proved in it . 
CouH the Greeks have been so far from th^ taste? 
In Sophocles at least "everything is proved. 

Esprit Un-Grecian-the Greeks were exceed 
ingly logical and plain in all their; hey 
did not get tired of it, at least durmg their long 
flourlhing period, as is so often the case with the 
French; Iho too willingly made a little excursion 
into the opposite, and in fact endure the spir t of 
loric only when it betrays its ..««*& courtesy 
its sociable self-renunciation, by a n>"ltitude of 
such little excursions into its opposite. Logic 
appears to them as necessary as bread and water 
bufalso like these as a kind of prison-fare, as soon 
as it is to be taken pure and by itself. In good 
soclty one must never want to be in the right 
absolutely and solely, as aU.pure logic requ-res^ 
h..nce the little dose of irrationality in all French 
^;;^:ilThe social sense of the Greeks was far 
tSs developed than that of the French m the 


present and the past ; hence, so little esprit in their 
cleverest men, hence, so little wit, even in their wags, 
hence — alas! But people will not readily believe 
these tenets of mine, and how much of the kind 
I have still on my soul ! — Est res magna tacere 
— says Martial, like all garrulous people. 

Translations. — One can estimate the amount of 
the historical sense which an age possesses by the 
way in which it makes translations and seeks to 
embody in itself past periods and literatures. 
The French of Corneille, and even the French of 
the Revolution, appropriated Roman antiquity in a 
manner for which we would no longer have the 
courage — owing to our superior historical sense. 
And Roman antiquity itself: how violently, and 
at the same time how naively, did it lay its hand 
on everything excellent and elevated belonging to 
the older Grecian antiquity ! How they trans- 
lated these writings into the Roman present ! 
How they wiped away intentionally and uncon- 
cernedly the wing-dust of the butterfly moment ! 
It is thus that Horace now and then translated 
Alcaeus or Archilochus, it is thus that Propertius 
translated Callimachus and Philetas (poets of 
equal rank with Theocritus, if we be allowed to 
judge) : of what consequence was it to them that 
the actual creator experienced this and that, and 
had inscribed the indication thereof in his poem ! — 
as poets they were averse to the antiquarian, 
inquisitive spirit which precedes the historical 
sense ; as poets they did not respect those essenti- 


ally personal traits and names, nor anything 
peculiar to city, coast, or century, such as its 
costume and mask, but at once put the present 
and the Roman in its place. They seem to us to 
ask- "Should we not make the old new for our- 
selves, and adjust ourselves to it? Should we not 
be allowed to inspire this dead body with our soul? 
for it is dead indeed : how loathsome is everything 
dead ' "—They did not know the pleasure of the 
historical sense ; the past and the alien was painful 
to them, and as Romans it was an incitement to 
a Roman conquest. In fact, they conquered 
when they translated,-not only in that they 
omitted the historical: they added also allusions 
to the present ; above all, they struck out the 
name of the poet and put their own in its place 
-not with the feeling of theft, but with the very 
best conscience of the imperium Romanum. 

The Origin of Poetry.— Th^ lovers of the fantastic 
in man, who at the same time represent the doctrine 
of instinctive morality, draw this conclusion: 
«' Granted that utility has been honoured at all times 
as the highest divinity, where then in all the world 
has poetry come from ?-this rhythmising of speech 
which thwarts rather than furthers plainness of 
communication, and which, nevertheless, has sprung 
up everywhere on the earth, and still springs up, 
as a mockery of all useful purpose! The wildly 
beautiful irrationality of poetry refutes you, ye 
utilitarians! The wish to get rid of "tUity in 
some way-that is precisely what has elevated 


man, that is what has inspired him to morality and 
art ! " Well, I must here speak for once to please 
the utilitarians, — they are so seldom in the right 
that it is pitiful ! In the old times which called 
poetry into being, people had still utility in view 
with respect to it, and a very important utility — 
at the time when rhythm was introduced into 
speech, that force which arranges all the particles 
of the sentence anew, commands the choosing of 
the words, recolours the thought, and makes it more 
obscure, more foreign, and more distant : to be sure 
a superstitious utility ! It was intended that a 
human entreaty should be more profoundly im- 
pressed upon the Gods by virtue of rhythm, after 
it had been observed that men could remember 
a verse better than an unmetrical speech. It was 
likewise thought that people could make them- 
selves audible at greater distances by the rhythmi- 
cal beat ; the rhythmical prayer seemed to come 
nearer to the ear of the Gods. Above all, however, 
people wanted to have the advantage of the 
elementary conquest which man experiences in 
himself when he hears music : rhythm is a con- 
straint ; it produces an unconquerable desire to 
yield, to join in ; not only the step of the foot, 
but also the soul itself follows the measure, — 
probably the soul of the Gods also, as people 
thought ! They attempted, therefore, to constrain 
the Gods by rhythm, and to exercise a power over 
them ; they threw poetry around the Gods like a 
magic noose. There was a still more wonderful 
idea, and it has perhaps operated most powerfully 
of all in the originating of poetry. Among the 


Pythagoreans it made its appearance as a philoso- 
phical doctrine and as an artifice of teaching : but 
long before there were philosophers music was 
acknowledged to possess the power of unburdenmg 
the emotions, of purifying the soul, of soothing 
the ferocia animi—2.nd this was owing to the 
rhythmical element in music. When the proper 
tension and harmony of the soul were lost a person 
had to dance to the measure of the singer,— that 
was the recipe of this medical art. By means of it 
Terpander quieted a tumult, Empedocles calmed a 
maniac, Damon purged a love-sick youth ; by 
means of it even the maddened, revengeful Gods 
were treated for the purpose of a cure. This was 
effected by driving the frenzy and wantonness 
of their emotions to the highest pitch, by making 
the furious mad, and the revengeful intoxicated 
with vengeance :-all the orgiastic cults seek to 
discharge the ferocia of a deity all at once, and 
thus make an orgy, so that the deity may feel freer 
and quieter afterwards, and leave man m peace. 
Melos, according to its root, signifies a soothing 
aeency, not because the song is gentle itself, but 
because its after-effect is gentle.-And not only 
in the religious song, but also in the secular song 
of the most ancient times, the prerequisite is that 
the rhythm should exercise a magical influence; 
for example, in drawing water, or in rowing : the 
song is for the enchanting of the spirits supposed to 
be active thereby ; it makes them obliging, involun- 
tary and the instruments of man. And as often 
as a person acts he has occasion to sing, every 
action is dependent on the assistance of spirits : 


magic song and incantation appear to be the 
original form of poetry. When verse also came to 
be used in oracles— the Greeks said that the 
hexameter was invented at Delphi,— the rhythm 
was here also intended to exercise a compulsory 
influence.' To make a prophecy — that means 
originally (according to what seems to me the 
probable derivation of the Greek word) to deter- 
mine something ; people thought they could deter- 
mine the future by winning Apollo over to their 
side : he who, according to the most ancient idea, is 
far more than a foreseeing deity. According as the 
formula is pronounced with literal and rhythmical 
correctness, it determines the future : the formula, 
however, is the invention of Apollo, who as the 
God of rhythm, can also determine the goddesses 
of fate. — Looked at and investigated as a whole, 
was there ever anything more serviceable to the 
ancient superstitious species of human being than 
rhythm? People could do everything with it: 
they could make labour go on magically; they 
could compel a God to appear, to be near at hand, 
and listen to them ; they could arrange the future 
for themselves according to their will ; they could 
unburden their own souls of any kind of excess (of 
anxiety, of mania, of sympathy, of revenge), and 
not only their own souls, but the souls of the most 
evil spirits, — without verse a person was nothing, 
by means of verse a person became almost a God. 
Such a fundamental feeling no longer allows itself 
to be fully eradicated, — and even now, after mil- 
lenniums of long labour in combating such supersti- 
tion, the very wisest of us occasionally becomes the 


fool of rhythm, be it only that one perceives a 
thought to be ^r^^^r when it has a metrical form 
and approaches with a divine hopping. Is it not 
a very funny thing that the most serious philo- 
sophers, however anxious they are in other respects 
for strict certainty, still appeal to poetical sayings in 
order to give their thoughts force and credibility ? 

and yet it is more dangerous to a truth when the 

poet assents to it than when he contradicts it! 
For, as Homer says, " Minstrels speak much false- 


The Good and the Beautiful.— hvtists glorify 
continually — they do nothing else, — and indeed 
they glorify all those conditions and things that 
have a reputation, so that man may feel himself 
good or great, or intoxicated, or merry, or pleased 
and wise by it. Those select things and conditions 
whose value for human happiness is regarded 
as secure and determined, are the objects of 
artists : they are ever lying in wait to discover 
such things, to transfer them into the domain of 
art. I mean to say that they are not themselves 
the valuers of happiness and of the happy ones, 
but they always press close to these valuers with 
the greatest curiosity and longing, in order 
immediately to use their valuations advantageously. 
As besides their impatience, they have also the 
big lungs of heralds and the feet of runners, they 
are generally always among the first to glorify the 
new excellency, and often seem to be the first who 
have called it good and valued it as good. This, 


however, as we have said, is an error ; they are 
only faster and louder than the actual valuers : — 
And who then are these ?— They are the rich and 
the leisurely. 


The Theatre. — This day has given me once more 
strong and elevated sentiments, and if I could 
have music and art in the evening, I know well 
what music and art I should not like to have ; 
namely, none of that which would fain intoxicate 
its hearers and excite them to a crisis of strong and 
high feeling, — those men with commonplace souls, 
who in the evening are not like victors on triumphal 
cars, but like tired mules to whom life has rather 
too often applied the whip. What would those 
men at all know of " higher moods," unless there 
were expedients for causing ecstasy and idealistic 
strokes of the whip! — and thus they have their 
inspirers as they have their wines. But what is 
their drink and their drunkenness to me! Does 
the inspired one need wine ? He rather looks with 
a kind of disgust at the agency and the agent which 
are here intended to produce an effect without 
sufficient reason, — an imitation of the high tide of 
the soul ! What ? One gives the mole wings and 
proud fancies — before going to sleep, before he 
creeps into his hole? One sends him into the 
theatre and puts great magnifying-glasses to his 
blind and tired eyes? Men, whose life is not 
"action" but business, sit in front of the stage 
and look at strange beings to whom life is more 
than business? "This is proper," you say, "this 


is entertaining, this is what culture wants ! "—Well 
then ' culture is too often lacking in me. for this 
sight is too often disgusting to me. He who 
has enough of tragedy and comedy m himself 
surely prefers to remain away from the theatre; 
or as an exception, the whole procedure— theatre 
and public and poet included— becomes for him a 
truly tragic and comic play, so that the performed 
piece counts for little in comparison. He who is 
something like Faust and Manfred, what does it 
matter to him about the Fausts and Manfreds of 
the theatre!— while it certainly gives him some- 
thing to think about that such figures are brought 
into the theatre at all. The strongest thoughts and 
passions before those who are not capable of thought 
and passion-but of intoxication only ! And^^^T^^ 
as a means to this end ! And theatre and music the 
hashish-smoking and betel-chewing of Europeans! 
Oh who will narrate to us the whole history of 
narcotics !-It is almost the history of "culture, 
the so-called higher culture ! 

The Conceit of Artisfs.-l think artists often do 
not know what they can do best, because they are 
too conceited, and have set their minds on some- 
thing loftier than those little plants appear to be, 
which can grow up to perfection on their soil, 
fresh, rare, and beautiful. The final value of their 
own garden and vineyard is superciliously under- 
estimated by them, and their love and their insight 
are not of the same quality. Here is a musician, 
• who, more than any one else, has the genius for 


discovering the tones peculiar to suffering, oppressed, 
tortured souls, and who can endow even dumb 
animals with speech. No one equals him in the 
colours of the late autumn, in the indescribably 
touching happiness of a last, a final, and all too 
short enjoyment ; he knows a chord for those secret 
and weird midnights of the soul when cause and 
effect seem out of joint, and when every instant 
something may originate "out of nothing." He 
draws his resources best of all out of the lower 
depths of human happiness, and so to speak, out of 
its drained goblet, where the bitterest and most 
nauseous drops have ultimately, for good or for 
ill, commingled with the sweetest. He knows the 
weary shuffling along of the soul which can no 
longer leap or fly, yea, not even walk ; he has the 
shy glance of concealed pain, of understanding 
without comfort, of leave-taking without avowal ; 
yea, as the Orpheus of all secret misery, he is greater 
than anyone ; and in fact much has been added 
to art by him which was hitherto inexpressible 
and not even thought worthy of art, and which was 
only to be scared away, by words, and not grasped 
— many small and quite microscopic features of 
the soul : yes, he is the master of miniature. But 
he does not wish to be so ! His character is more 
in love with large walls and daring frescoes ! He 
fails to see that his spirit has a different taste and 
inclination, and prefers to sit quietly in the corners 
of ruined houses : — concealed in this way, concealed 
even from himself, he there paints his proper master- 
pieces, all of which are very short, often only one 
bar in length, — there only does he become quite 


good, great, and perfect, perhaps there only. — But 
he does not know it! He is too conceited to 
know it. 


Earnestness for the Truth. — Earnest for the truth ! 
What different things men understand by these 
words ! Just the same opinions, and modes of 
demonstration and testing which a thinker regards 
as a frivolity in himself, to which he has succumbed 
with shame at one time or other, — just the same 
opinions may give to an artist, who comes in 
contact with them and accepts them temporarily, 
the consciousness that the profoundest earnestness 
for the truth has now taken hold of him, and that 
it is worthy of admiration that, although an artist, 
he at the same time exhibits the most ardent 
desire for the antithesis of the apparent. It is thus 
possible that a person may, just by his pathos of 
earnestness, betray how superficially and sparingly 
his intellect has hitherto operated in the domain of 
knowledge. — And is not everything that we con- 
sider important our betrayer? It shows where our 
motives lie, and where our motives are altogether 


Now and Formerly. — Of what consequence is all 
our art in artistic products, if that higher art, the 
art of the festival, be lost by us? Formerly all 
artistic products were exhibited on the great 
festive-path of humanity, as tokens of remembrance, 
and monuments of high and happy moments. 
One now seeks to allure the exhausted and sickly 


from the great suffering-path of humanity for a 
wanton moment by means of works of art ; one 
furnishes them with a little ecstasy and insanity. 


Lights and Shades,— ^ooVs and writings are 
different with different thinkers. One writer has 
collected together in his book all the rays of light 
which he could quickly plunder and carry home 
from an illuminating experience; while another 
gives only the shadows, and the grey and black 
replicas of that which on the previous day had 
towered up in his soul. 


Precaution.— K\?iGn, as is well known, told a 
great many falsehoods when he narrated the 
history of his life to his astonished contemporaries. 
He told falsehoods owing to the despotism toward 
himself which he exhibited, for example, in the 
way in which he created his own language, and 
tyrannised himself into a poet :— he finally found 
a rigid form of sublimity into which he forced his 
life and his memory ; he must have suffered much 
in the process. — I would also give no credit to a 
history of Plato's life written by himself, as little as 
to Rousseau's, or to the Vita nuova of Dante. 


Prose and Poetry. — Let it be observed that the 
great masters of prose have almost always been 
poets as well, whether openly, or only in secret and 


for the " closet " ; and in truth one only writes good 
prose in view of poetry ! For prose is an uninter- 
rupted, polite warfare with poetry ; all its charm 
consists in the fact that poetry is constantly avoided 
and contradicted ; every abstraction wants to have 
a gibe at poetry, and wishes to be uttered with a 
mocking voice ; all dryness and coolness is meant 
to bring the amiable goddess into an amiable 
despair ; there are often approximations and recon- 
ciliations for the moment, and then a sudden recoil 
and a burst of laughter ; the curtain is often drawn 
up and dazzling light let in just while the goddess 
is enjoying her twilights and dull colours ; the 
word is often taken out of her mouth and chanted 
to a melody while she holds her fine hands before 
her delicate little ears : — and so there are a 
thousand enjoyments of the warfare, the defeats 
included, of which the unpoetic, the so-called 
prose - men know nothing at all : — they conse- 
quently write and speak only bad prose ! Warfare 
is the father of all good things, it is also the father 
of good prose ! — There have been four very singular 
and -truly poetical men in this century who have 
arrived at mastership in prose, for which other- 
wise this century is not suited, owing to lack of 
poetry, as we have indicated. Not to take Goethe 
into account, for he is reasonably claimed by the 
century that produced him, I look only on Giacomo 
Leopardi, Prosper Merim6e, Ralph Waldo Emerson, 
and Walter Savage Landor the author of Imaginary 
Conversations, as worthy to be called masters of 


But why, then, do you Write ? — A : I do not 
belong to those who think with the wet pen in 
hand ; and still less to those who yield themselves 
entirely to their passions before the open ink-bottle, 
sitting on their chair and staring at the paper. I 
am always vexed and abashed by writing ; writing 
is a necessity for me, — even to speak of it in a 
simile is disagreeable. B : But why, then, do you 
write ? A : Well, my dear Sir, to tell you in con- 
fidence, I have hitherto found no other means of 
getting rid of my thoughts. B : And why do you 
wish to get rid of them ? A : Why I wish ? Do 
I really wish ! I must. — B : Enough ! Enough ! 


Growth after Death. — Those few daring words 
about moral matters which Fontenelle threw 
into his immortal Dialogues of the Dead, were 
regarded by his age as paradoxes and amusements 
of a not unscrupulous wit ; even the highest judges 
of taste and intellect saw nothing more in them, — 
indeed, Fontenelle himself perhaps saw nothing 
more. Then something incredible takes place: 
these thoughts become truths! Science proves 
them ! The game becomes serious ! And we read 
those dialogues with a feeling different from that 
with which Voltaire and Helvetius read them, and 
we involuntarily raise their originator into another 
and much higher class of intellects than they did. — 
Rightly ? Wrongly ? 


Chamfort. — That such a judge of men and 
of the multitude as Chamfort should side with 
the multitude, instead of standing apart in philo- 
sophical resignation and defence — I am at a loss 
to explain this, except as follows: — There was 
an instinct in him stronger than his wisdom, and 
it had never been gratified : the hatred against all 
noblesse of blood ; perhaps his mother's old and 
only too explicable hatred, which was consecrated 
in him by love of her, — an instinct of revenge from 
his boyhood, which waited for the hour to avenge 
his mother. But then the course of his life, his 
genius, and alas ! most of all, perhaps, the paternal 
blood in his veins, had seduced him to rank 
and consider himself equal to the noblesse — 
for many, many years ! In the end, however, he 
could not endure the sight of himself, the "old 
man " under the old regime, any longer ; he got 
into a violent, penitential passion, and in this state 
he put on the raiment of the populace as his special 
kind of hair-shirt! His bad conscience was the 
neglect of revenge. — If Chamfort had then been 
a little more of the philosopher, the Revolution 
would not have had its tragic wit and its sharpest 
sting ; it would have been regarded as a much 
more stupid affair, and would have had no such 
seductive influence on men's minds. But Chamfort's 
hatred and revenge educated an entire generation ; 
and the most illustrious men passed through his 
school. Let us but consider that Mirabeau looked 
up to Chamfort as to his higher and older self, 


from whom he expected (and endured) impulses, 
warnings, and condemnations, — Mirabeau, who as 
a man belongs to an entirely different order of 
greatness, as the very foremost among the states- 
man-geniuses of yesterday and to-day. — Strange, 
that in spite of such a friend and advocate — we 
possess Mirabeau's letters to Chamfort — this 
wittiest of all moralists has remained unfamiliar 
to the French, quite the same as Stendhal, who 
has perhaps had the most penetrating eyes and 
ears of any Frenchman of this century. Is it 
because the latter had really too much of the 
German and the Englishman in his nature for 
the Parisians to endure him? — while Chamfort, 
a man with ample knowledge of the profundities 
and secret motives of the soul, gloomy, suffering, 
ardent — a thinker who found laughter necessary 
as the remedy of life, and who almost gave himself 
up as lost every day that he had not laughed, — 
seems much more like an Italian, and related by 
blood to Dante and Leopardi, than like a French- 
man. One knows Chamfort's last words: ''Ah! 
nton ami" he said to Sieyes, "/<? m'en vais efifin 
de ce monde, oil il faut que le ccsur se brise ou se 
bronze — ." These were certainly not the words of 
a dying Frenchman. 

Two Orators.—Oi these two orators the one 
arrives at a full understanding of his case only 
when he yields himself to emotion ; it is only this 
that pumps sufficient blood and heat into his brain 
to compel his high intellectuality to reveal itself 


The other attempts, indeed, now and then to do 
the same: to state his case sonorously, vehe- 
mently, and spiritedly with the aid of emotion, 
—but usually with bad success. He then very 
soon speaks obscurely and confusedly; he exagger- 
ates, makes omissions, and excites suspicion of the 
justice of his case : indeed, he himself feels this 
suspicion, and the sudden changes into the coldest 
and most repulsive tones (which raise a doubt in 
the hearer as to his passion ateness being genuine) 
are thereby explicable. With him emotion always 
drowns the spirit ; perhaps because it is stronger 
than in the former. But he is at the height of his 
power when he resists the impetuous storm of his 
feeling, and as it were scorns it ; it is then only 
that his spirit emerges fully from its concealment, 
a spirit logical, mocking and playful, but never- 
theless awe-inspiring. 


The Loquacity of Auikors.— There is a loquacity 

of anger— frequent in Luther, also in Schopenhauer. 

A loquacity which comes from too great a store 

of conceptual formulae, as in Kant. A loquacity 

which comes from delight in ever new modifications 

of the same idea : one finds it in Montaigne. A 

loquacity of malicious natures: whoever reads 

writings of our period will recollect two authors in 

this connection. A loquacity which comes from 

delight in fine words and forms of speech : by no 

means rare in Goethe's prose. A loquacity which 

comes from pure satisfaction in noise and confusion 

of feelings : for example in Carlyle. 



In Honour of Shakespeare. — The best thing I 
could say in honour of Shakespeare, the man, is 
that he believed in Brutus, and cast not a shadow 
of suspicion on the kind of virtue which Brutus 
represents ! It is to him that Shakespeare conse- 
crated his best tragedy — it is at present still called 
by a wrong name, — to him, and to the most terrible 
essence of lofty morality. Independence of soul ! 
— that is the question at issue ! No sacrifice can 
be too great there : one must be able to sacrifice 
to it even one's dearest friend, although he be 
the grandest of men, the ornament of the world, the 
genius without peer, — if one really loves freedom 
as the freedom of great souls, and if this freedom 
be threatened by him : — it is thus that Shakespeare 
must have felt ! The elevation in which he places 
Caesar is the most exquisite honour he could confer 
upon Brutus ; it is thus only that he lifts into 
vastness the inner problem of his hero, and similarly 
the strength of soul which could cut this knot ! — 
And was it actually political freedom that impelled 
the poet to sympathy with Brutus, — and made him 
the accomplice of Brutus ? Or was political freedom 
merely a symbol for something inexpressible ? Do 
we perhaps stand before some sombre event or 
adventure of the poet's own soul, which has remained 
unknown, and of which he only cared to speak 
symbolically? What is all Hamlet-melancholy 
in comparison with the melancholy of Brutus ! — 
and perhaps Shakespeare also knew this, as he 
knew the other, by experience ! Perhaps he also had 


his dark hour and his bad angel, just as Brutus had 
them'— But whatever similarities and secret re- 
lationships of that kind there may have been, 
Shakespeare cast himself on the ground and felt 
unworthy and alien in presence of the aspect and 
virtue of Brutus :— he has inscribed the testimony 
thereof in the tragedy itself. He has twice brought 
in a poet in it, and twice heaped upon him such 
an impatient and extreme contempt, that it sounds 
like a cry,— like the cry of self-contempt. Brutus, 
even Brutus loses patience when the poet appears, 
self-important, pathetic and obtrusive, as poets 
usually are,— persons who seem to abound m the 
possibilities of greatness, even moral greatness, 
and nevertheless rarely attain even to ordinary 
uprightness in the philosophy of practice and of 
life " He may know the times, dui I know his 
temper,-z.^^y with the jigging fool '."-shouts 
Brutus. We may translate this back into the soul 
of the poet that composed it. 

The Followers of Schopenhauer.— Wh^X one sees 
at the contact of civilized peoples with barbarians, 
—namely, that the lower civilization regularly 
accepts in the first place the vices, weaknesses, 
and excesses of the higher ; then, from that point 
onward, feels the influence of a charm ; and finally, 
by means of the appropriated vices and weaknesses 
also allows something of the valuable influence of 
the higher culture to leaven it:-one can also see 
this close at hand and without journeys to bar- 
barian peoples, to be sure, somewhat refined and 


spiritualised, and not so readily palpable. What 
are the German followers of Schopenhauer still 
accustomed to receive first of all from their master ? 
— those who, when placed beside his superior culture, 
must deem themselves sufficiently barbarous to be 
first of all barbarously fascinated and seduced 
by him. Is it his hard matter-of-fact sense, his 
inclination to clearness and rationality, which often 
makes him appear so English, and so unlike 
Germans? Or the strength of his intellectual 
conscience, which endured a life-long contradiction 
of "being" and "willing," and compelled him to 
contradict himself constantly even in his writings 
on almost every point ? Or his purity in matters 
relating to the Church and the Christian God ? — 
for here he was pure as no German philosopher 
had been hitherto, so that he lived and died " as 
a Voltairian." Or his immortal doctrines of the 
intellectuality of intuition, the apriority of the law 
of causality, the instrumental nature of the intellect, 
and the non-freedom of the will ? No, nothing of 
this enchants, nor is felt as enchanting ; but 
Schopenhauer's mystical embarrassments and 
shufflings in those passages where the matter-of- 
fact thinker allowed himself to be seduced and 
corrupted by the vain impulse to be the unraveller 
of the world's riddle : his undemonstrable doctrine 
of one will (" all causes are merely occasional causes 
of the phenomenon of the will at such a time and 
at such a place," "the will to live, whole and 
undivided, is present in every being, even in the 
smallest, as perfectly as in the sum of all that 
was, is, and will be"); his denial of the 


individual ("all lions are really only one lion," 
" plurality of individuals is an appearance," as 
also development is only an appearance : he calls 
the opinion of Lamarck "an ingenious, absurd 
error ") ; his fantasy about genius (" in aesthetic 
contemplation the individual is no longer an 
individual, but a pure, will-less, painless, timeless 
subject of knowledge," " the subject, in that it 
entirely merges in the contemplated object, has 
become this object itself") ; his nonsense about 
sympathy, and about the outburst of the principium 
individuationis thus rendered possible, as the source 
of all morality ; including also such assertions as, 
"dying is really the design of existence," "the 
possibility should not be absolutely denied that 
a magical effect could proceed from a person 
already dead " : — these, and similar extravagances 
and vices of the philosopher, are always first 
accepted and made articles of faith ; for vices 
and extravagances are always easiest to imitate, 
and do not require a long preliminary practice. 
But let us speak of the most celebrated of the 
living Schopenhauerians, Richard Wagner. — It 
has happened to him as it has already happened 
to many an artist : he made a mistake in the 
interpretation of the characters he created, and 
misunderstood the unexpressed philosophy of 
the art peculiarly his own. Richard Wagner 
allowed himself to be misled by Hegel's influence 
till the middle of his life; and he did the same 
again when later on he read Schopenhauer's 
doctrine between the lines of his characters, and 
began to express himself with such terms as 


"will," "genius," and "sympathy." Nevertheless 
it will remain true that nothing is more counter 
to Schopenhauer's spirit than the essentially 
Wagnerian element in Wagner's heroes: I mean 
the innocence of the supremest selfishness, the 
belief in strong passion as the good in itself, in a 
word, the Siegfried trait in the countenances of 
his heroes. " All that still smacks more of Spinoza 
than of me," — Schopenhauer would probably have 
said. Whatever good reasons, therefore, Wagner 
might have had to be on the outlook for other 
philosophers than Schopenhauer, the enchantment 
to which he succumbed in respect to this thinker, 
not only made him blind towards all other philo- 
sophers, but even towards science itself; his entire 
art is more and more inclined to become the 
counterpart and complement of the Schopen- 
hauerian philosophy, and it always renounces more 
emphatically the higher ambition to become the 
counterpart and complement of human knowledge 
and science. And not only is he allured thereto 
by the whole mystic pomp of this philosophy 
(which would also have allured a Cagliostro), the 
peculiar airs and emotions of the philosopher have 
all along been seducing him as well ! For example, 
Wagner's indignation about the corruption of the 
German language is Schopenhauerian ; and if one 
should commend his imitation in this respect, it 
is nevertheless not to be denied that Wagner's 
style itself suffers in no small degree from all the 
tumours and turgidities, the sight of which made 
Schopenhauer so furious ; and that, in respect to 
the German-writing Wagnerians, Wagneromania 


is beginning to be as dangerous as only some kinds 
of Hegelomania have been. From Schopenhauer 
comes Wagner's hatred of the Jews, to whom 
he cannot do justice even in their greatest 
exploit: are not the Jews the inventors of 
Christianity ! The attempt of Wagner to construe 
Christianity as a seed blown away from Buddhism, 
and his endeavour to initiate a Buddhistic era in 
Europe, under a temporary approximation tc 
Catholic-Christian formulas and sentiments, are 
both Schopenhauerian. Wagner's preaching in 
favour of pity in dealing with animals is Schopen- 
hauerian; Schopenhauer's predecessor here, as is 
well known, was Voltaire, who already perhaps, like 
his successors, knew how to disguise his hatred of 
certain men and things as pity towards animals. 
At least Wagner's hatred of science, which mani- 
fests itself in his preaching, has certainly not 
been inspired by the spirit of charitableness and 
kindness — nor by the spirit at all, as is sufficiently 
obvious. — Finally, it is of little importance what 
the philosophy of an artist is, provided it is only a 
supplementary philosophy, and does not do any 
injury to his art itself. We cannot be sufficiently on 
our guard against taking a dislike to an artist on 
account of an occasional, perhaps very unfortunate 
and presumptuous masquerade; let us not forget 
that the dear artists are all of them something of 
actors — and must be so ; it would be difficult for 
them to hold out in the long run without stage- 
playing. Let us be loyal to Wagner in that 
which is true and original in him, — and especially 
in this point, that we, his disciples, remain loyal 


to ourselves in that which is true and original in us. 
Let us allow him his intellectual humours and 
spasms, let us in fairness rather consider what 
strange nutriments and necessaries an art like his 
t's entitled to, in order to be able to live and grow ! 
It is of no account that he is often wrong as a 
thinker ; justice and patience are not his affair. It 
is sufficient that his life is right in his own eyes, 
and maintains its right, — the life which calls to 
each of us : " Be a man, and do not follow me — but 
thyself! thyself!" Our life, also ought to main- 
tain its right in our own eyes ! We also are to 
grow and blossom out of ourselves, free and fearless, 
in innocent selfishness ! And so, on the contem- 
plation of such a man, these thoughts still ring in 
my ears to-day, as formerly: "That passion is 
better than stoicism or hypocrisy ; that straight- 
forwardness, even in evil, is better than losing 
oneself in trying to observe traditional morality ; 
that the free man is just as able to be good as 
evil, but that the unemancipated man is a disgrace 
to nature, and has no share in heavenly or earthly 
bliss ; finally, that all who wish to be free must 
become so through themselves, and that freedom falls 
to nobody's lot as a gift from Heaven." {^Richard 
Wagner in Bayreuth^ Vol. I. of this Translation, 
pp. 199-200). 


Learning to do Homage. — One must learn the 
art of homage, as well as the art of contempt. 
Whoever goes in new paths and has led many 
persons therein, discovers with astonishment how 


awkward and incompetent all of them are in the 
expression of their gratitude, and indeed how 
rarely gratitude is able even to express itself. It 
is always as if something comes into people's 
throats when their gratitude wants to speak so 
that it only hems and haws, and becomes silent 
again The way in which a thinker succeeds in 
tracing the effect of his thoughts, and their trans- 
forming and convulsing power, is almost a comedy : 
it sometimes seems as if those who have been 
operated upon felt profoundly injured thereby, and 
could only assert their independence, which they 
suspect to be threatened, by all kinds of impro- 
prieties. It needs whole generations in order merely 
to devise a courteous convention of gratefulness; 
it is only very late that the period arrives when 
something of spirit and genius enters into gratitude 
Then there is usually some one who is the great 
receiver of thanks, not only for the good he himself 
has done, but mostly for that which has been 
gradually accumulated by his predecessors, as a 
treasure of what is highest and best. 


r^//^/m-Wherever there has been a court, it 
has furnished the standard of good-speaking, and 
with this also the standard of style for writers 
The court language, however, is the language of 
the courtier who has no profession, and who even in 
conversations on scientific subjects avoids all con- 
venient, technical expressions, because they smack 
of the profession; on that account the technical 
expression, and everything that betrays the special- 


ist, is a blemish of style in countries which have a 
court culture. At present, when all courts have 
become caricatures of past and present times, one 
is astonished to find even Voltaire unspeakably 
reserved and scrupulous on this point (for example, 
in his judgments concerning such stylists as Fon- 
tenelle and Montesquieu), — we are now, all of us, 
emancipated from court taste, while Voltaire was 
its perfecter ! 


A Word for Philologists. — It is thought that 
there are books so valuable and royal that whole 
generations of scholars are well employed when 
through their efforts these books are kept genuine 
and intelligible, — to confirm this belief again and 
again is the purpose of philology. It presupposes 
that the rare men are not lacking (though they may 
not be visible), who actually know how to use such 
valuable books : — those men perhaps who write such 
books themselves, or could write them. I mean 
to say that philology presupposes a noble belief, — 
that for the benefit of some few who are always 
" to come," and are not there, a very great amount 
of painful, and even dirty labour has to be done 
beforehand : it is all labour in usum Delphinorum. 


German Music. — German music, more than any 
other, has now become European music ; because 
the changes which Europe experienced through 
the Revolution have therein alone found expres- 
sion : it is only German music that knows how to 


express the agitation of popular masses, the tre- 
mendous artificial uproar, which does not even 
need to be very noisy,— while Italian opera, for 
example, knows only the choruses of domestics 
or soldiers, but not "the people." There is 
the additional fact that in all German music a 
profound bourgeois jealousy of the noblesse can be 
traced, especially a jealousy of esprit and ^Ugance, 
as the expressions of a courtly, chivalrous, ancient, 
and self-confident society. It is not music like 
that of Goethe's musician at the gate, which was 
pleasing also "in the hall," and to the king as 
well; it is not here said: "The knights looked 
on with martial air ; with bashful eyes the 
ladies." Even the Graces are not allowed in 
German music without a touch of remorse ; it is 
only with Pleasantness, the country sister of the 
Graces that the German begins to feel morally 
at ease— and from this point up to his enthusiastic, 
learned, and often gruff " sublimity" (the Beethoven- 
like sublimity), he feels more and more so. If we 
want to imagine the man of tkis music,— well, let 
us just imagine Beethoven as he appeared beside 
Goethe, say, at their meeting at Teplitz : as semi- 
barbarism beside culture, as the masses beside 
the nobility, as the good-natured man beside the 
good and more than "good" man, as the visionary 
beside the artist, as the man needing comfort beside 
the comforted, as the man given to exaggeration 
and distrust beside the man of reason, as the 
crank and self-tormenter, as the foolishly enraptured, 
blessedly unfortunate, sincerely immoderate man[ 
as the pretentious and awkward man,— and alto- 


gather as the "untamed man": it was thus that 
Goethe conceived and characterised him, Goethe, 
the exceptional German, for whom a music of 
equal rank has not yet been found ! — Finally, 
let us consider whether the present continually 
extending contempt of melody and the stunting of 
the sense for melody among Germans should not 
be understood as a democratic impropriety and an 
after-effect of the Revolution? For melody has 
such an obvious delight in conformity to law, and 
such an aversion to everything evolving, unformed 
and arbitrary, that it sounds like a note out of the 
ancient European regime, and as a seduction and 
guidance back to it. 


The Tone of the German Language. — We know 
whence the German originated which for several 
centuries has been the universal literary language 
of Germany. The Germans, with their reverence for 
everything that came from the court, intentionally 
took the chancery style as their pattern in all that 
they had to write, especially in their letters, records, 
wills, &c. To write in the chancery style, that was 
to write in court and government style, — that was 
regarded as something select, compared with the 
language of the city in which a person lived. 
People gradually drew this inference, and spoke 
also as they wrote, — they thus became still more 
select in the forms of their words, in the choice of 
their terms and modes of expression, and finally 
also in their tones : they affected a court tone when 
they spoke, and the affectation at last became 


natural Perhaps nothing quite similar has ever 
happened elsewhere: — the predominance of the 
literary style over the talk, and the formality and 
affectation of an entire people becoming the basis 
of a common and no longer dialectical language. 
I believe that the sound of the German language 
in the Middle Ages, and especially after the Middle 
Ages, was extremely rustic and vulgar; it has 
ennobled itself somewhat during the last centuries, 
principally because it was found necessary to 
imitate so many French, Italian, and Spanish 
sounds, and particularly on the part of the German 
(and Austrian) nobility, who could not at all 
content themselves with their mother-tongue. But 
notwithstanding this practice, German must have 
sounded intolerably vulgar to Montaigne, and even 
to Racine : even at present, in the mouths of 
travellers among the Italian populace, it still sounds 
very coarse, sylvan, and hoarse, as if it had origi- 
nated in smoky rooms and outlandish districts. — 
Now I notice that at present a similar striving 
after selectness of tone is spreading among 
the former admirers of the chancery style, and 
that the Germans are beginning to accommodate 
themselves to a peculiar " witchery of sound," which 
might in the long run become an actual danger to 
the German language, — for one may seek in vain 
for more execrable sounds in Europe. Something 
mocking, cold, indifferent and careless in the 
voice : that is what at present sounds " noble " 
to the Germans — and I hear the approval of 
this nobleness in the voices of young officials, 
teachers, women, and trades-people; indeed, even 


the little girls already imitate this German of the 
officers. For the officer, and in fact the Prussian 
officer is the inventor of these tones : this same 
officer, who as soldier and professional man pos- 
sesses that admirable tact for modesty which the 
Germans as a whole might well imitate (German 
professors and musicians included !). But as soon 
as he speaks and moves he is the most immodest 
and inelegant figure in old Europe — no doubt 
unconsciously to himself! And unconsciously also 
to the good Germans, who gaze at him as the man 
of the foremost and most select society, and 
willingly let him " give them his tone." And indeed 
he gives it to them !— in the first place it is the 
sergeant-majors and non-commissioned officers that 
imitate his tone and coarsen it. One should note 
the roars of command, with which the German 
cities are absolutely surrounded at present, when 
there is drilling at all the gates: what presump- 
tion, furious imperiousness, and mocking coldness 
speaks in this uproar ! Could the Germans 
actually be a musical people?— It is certain that 
the Germans martialise themselves at present in 
the tone of their language : it is probable that, being 
exercised to speak martially, they will finally write 
martially also. For habituation to definite tones 
extends deeply into the character :— people soon 
have the words and modes of expression, and finally 
also the thoughts which just suit these tones! 
Perhaps they already write in the officers' style; 
perhaps I only read too little of what is at present 
written in Germany to know this. But one thing 
I know all the surer : the German public declara- 


tions which also reach places abroad, are not 
inspired by German music, but just by that new 
tone of tasteless arrogance. Almost in every 
speech of the foremost German statesman, and 
even when he makes himself heard through his 
imperial mouth-piece, there is an accent which the 
ear of a foreigner repudiates with aversion : but 
the Germans endure it,— they endure themselves. 

The Germans as Artists. — When once a German 
actually experiences passion (and not only, as is 
usual, the mere inclination to it), he then behaves 
just as he must do in passion, and does not think 
further of his behaviour. The truth is, however, 
that he then behaves very awkwardly and uglily, 
and as if destitute of rhythm and melody ; so 
that onlookers are pained or moved thereby, but 
nothing mox&— unless he elevate himself to the 
sublimity and enrapturedness of which certain 
passions are capable. Then even the German 
becomes beautiful. The consciousness of the height 
at which beauty begins to shed its charm even 
over Germans, forces German artists to the height 
and the super-height, and to the extravagances of 
passion: they have an actual, profound longing, 
therefore, to get beyond, or at least to look beyond 
the ugliness and awkwardness — into a better, 
easier, more southern, more sunny world. And 
thus their convulsions are often merely indications 
that they would like to dance : these poor bears in 
whom hidden nymphs and satyrs, and sometimes 
still higher divinities, carry on their game ! 



Music as Advocate. — "I have a longing for a 
master of the musical art," said an innovator to 
his disciple, " that he may learn from me my ideas 
and speak them more widely in his language : I 
shall thus be better able to reach men's ears and 
hearts. For by means of tones one can seduce 
men to every error and every truth: who could 
refute a tone ? " — " You would, therefore, like to be 
regarded as irrefutable?" said his disciple. The 
innovator answered : " I should like the germ to 
become a tree. In order that a doctrine may 
become a tree, it must be believed in for a con- 
siderable period ; in order that it may be believed 
in it must be regarded as irrefutable. Storms and 
doubts and worms and wickedness are necessary 
to the tree, that it may manifest its species and 
the strength of its germ ; let it perish if it is not 
strong enough! But a germ is always merely 
annihilated, — not refuted!" — When he had said 
this, his disciple called out impetuously; "But I 
believe in your cause, and regard it as so strong 
that I will say everything against it, everything 
that I still have in my heart." — The innovator 
laughed to himself and threatened the disciple with 
his finger. "This kind of discipleship," said he 
then, "is the best, but it is dangerous, and not 
every kind of doctrine can stand it." 


Our Ultimate Gratitude to Art. — If we had not 
approved of the Arts and invented this sort of cult 


of the untrue, the insight into the general untruth 
and falsity of things now given us by science — 
an insight into delusion and error as conditions 
of intelligent and sentient existence — would be 
quite unendurable. Honesty would have disgust 
and suicide in its train. Now, however, our 
honesty has a counterpoise which helps us to 
escape such consequences ; — namely. Art, as the 
good-will to illusion. We do not always restrain 
our eyes from rounding off and perfecting in 
imagination : and then it is no longer the eternal 
imperfection that we carry over the river of 
Becoming — for we think we carry a goddess^ and 
are proud and artless in rendering this service. As 
an aesthetic phenomenon existence is still endurable 
to us ; and by Art, eye and hand and above all the 
good conscience are given to us, to be able to make 
such a phenomenon out of ourselves. We must 
rest from ourselves occasionally by contemplating 
and looking down upon ourselves, and by laughing 
or weeping over ourselves from an artistic remote- 
ness : we must discover the hero, and likewise the 
fool, that is hidden in our passion for knowledge ; 
we must now and then be joyful in our folly, that 
we may continue to be joyful in our wisdom ! 
And just because we are heavy and serious men 
in our ultimate depth, and are rather weights than 
men, there is nothing that does us so much good 
as the fooVs cap and bells : we need them in pre- 
sence of ourselves — we need all arrogant, soaring, 
dancing, mocking, childish and blessed Art, in order 
not to lose Mk\&free dominion over things which our 
ideal demands of us. It would be backsliding for us. 


with our susceptible integrity, to lapse entirely into 
morality, and actually become virtuous monsters 
and scarecrows, on account of the over -strict 
requirements which we here lay down for our- 
selves. We ought also to be able to stand above 
morality, and not only stand with the painful 
stiffness of one who every moment fears to slip and 
fall, but we should also be able to soar and play 
above it ! How could we dispense with Art for 
that purpose, how could we dispense with the fool ? 
— And as long as you are still ashamed of your- 
selves in any way, you still do not belong to us ! 



New Struggles. — After Buddha was dead people 
showed his shadow for centuries afterwards in a 
cave, — an immense frightful shadow. God is dead : - 
but as the human race is constituted, there will 
perhaps be caves for millenniums yet, in which 
people will show his shadow. — And we — we have 
still to overcome his shadow ! ""' 


Let us be on our Guard. — Let us be on our guard 
against thinking that the world is a living being. 
Where could it extend itself? What could it 
nourish itself with? How could it grow and 
increase? We know tolerably well what the 
organic is ; and we are to reinterpret the emphati- 
cally derivative, tardy, rare and accidental, which 
we only perceive on the crust of the earth, into the 
essential, universal and eternal, as those do who 
call the universe an organism ? That disgusts me. 
Let us now be on our guard against believing that 
the universe is a machine ; it is assuredly not con- 
structed with a view to one end ; we invest it with 
far too high an honour with the word " machine." 
Let us be on our guard against supposing that 
anything so methodical as the cyclic motions of 
our neighbouring stars obtains generally and 
throughout the universe; indeed a glance at the 


Milky Way induces doubt as to whether there are 
not many cruder and more contradictory motions 
there, and even stars with continuous, rectilinearly 
gravitating orbits, and the Hke. The astral arrange- 
ment in which we live is an exception; this 
arrangement, and the relatively long durability 
which is determined by it, has again made possible 
the exception of exceptions, the formation of 
organic life. The general character of the world, 
on the other hand, is to all eternity chaos ; not by 
the absence of necessity, but in the sense of the 
absence of order, structure, form, beauty, wisdom, 
and whatever else our aesthetic humanities are 
called. Judged by our reason, the unlucky casts 
are far oftenest the rule, the exceptions are not the 
secret purpose ; and the whole musical box repeats 
eternally its air, which can never be called a melody, 
—and finally the very expression, " unlucky cast " 
is already an anthropomorphising which involves 
blame. But how could we presume to blame or 
praise the universe! Let us be on our guard 
against ascribing to it heartlessness and unreason, 
or their opposites ; it is neither perfect, nor beauti- 
ful, nor noble ; nor does it seek to be anything of 
the kind, it does not at all attempt to imitate 
man ! It is altogether unaffected by our aesthetic 
and moral judgments! Neither has it any self- 
preservative instinct, nor instinct at all ; it also 
knows no law. Let us be on our guard against 
saying that there are laws in nature. There are 
only necessities : there is no one who commands, 
no one who obeys, no one who transgresses. 
When you know that there is no design, you know 


also that there is no chance: for it is only 
where there is a world of design that the word 
" chance " has a meaning. Let us be on our guard 
against saying that death is contrary to life. The 
living being is only a species of dead being, and 
a very rare species. — Let us be on our guard 
against thinking that the world eternally creates 
the new. There are no eternally enduring 
substances ; matter is just another such error as 
the God of the Eleatics. But when shall we be at 
an end with our foresight and precaution ! When 
will all these shadows of God cease to obscure us ? 
When shall we have nature entirely undeified ! 
When shall we be permitted to naturalise our- 
selves by means of the pure, newly discovered, 
newly redeemed nature ? 


Origin of Knowledge. — Throughout immense 
stretches of time the intellect produced nothing 
but errors ; some of them proved to be useful and 
preservative of the species : he who fell in with 
them, or inherited them, waged the battle for him- 
self and his offspring with better success. Those 
erroneous articles of faith which were successively 
transmitted by inheritance, and have finally become 
almost the property and stock of the human 
species, are, for example, the following : — that there 
are enduring things, that there are equal things, 
that there are things, substances, and bodies, that 
a thing is what it appears, that our will is free, 
that what is good for me is also good abso- 
lutely. It was only very late that the deniers and 


doubters of such propositions came forward, — 
it was only very late that truth made its appear- 
ance as the most impotent form of knowledge. It 
seemed as if it were impossible to get along with 
truth, our organism was adapted for the very 
opposite; all its higher functions, the perceptions 
of the senses, and in general every kind of sensation, 
co-operated with those primevally embodied, funda- 
mental errors. Moreover, those propositions became 
the very standards of knowledge according to which 
the " true " and the " false " were determined — 
throughout the whole domain of pure logic. The 
strength of conceptions does not, therefore, depend 
on their degree of truth, but on their antiquity, 
their embodiment, their character as conditions of 
life. Where life and knowledge seemed to con- 
flict, there has never been serious contention ; 
denial and doubt have there been regarded 
as madness. The exceptional thinkers like the 
Eleatics, who, in spite of this, advanced and main- 
tained the antitheses of the natural errors, believed 
that it was possible also to live these counterparts : 
it was they who devised the sage as the man 
of immutability, impersonality and universality of 
intuition, as one and all at the same time, with 
a special faculty for that reverse kind of knowledge ; 
they were of the belief that their knowledge was 
at the same time the principle of life. To be able 
to afiirm all this, however, they had to deceive them- 
selves concerning their own condition : they had 
to attribute to themselves impersonality and un- 
changing permanence, they had to mistake the 
nature of the philosophic individual, deny the force 


of the impulses in cognition, and conceive of reason 
generally as an entirely free and self-originating 
activity ; they kept their eyes shut to the fact that 
they also had reached their doctrines in contradiction 
to valid methods, or through their longing for repose 
or for exclusive possession or for domination. The 
subtler development of sincerity and of scepticism 
finally made these men impossible ; their life also, 
and their judgments, turned out to be dependent 
on the primeval impulses and fundamental errors 
of all sentient being. — The subtler sincerity and 
scepticism arose wherever two antithetical maxims 
appeared to be applicable to life, because both of 
them were compatible with the fundamental errors ; 
where, therefore, there could be contention con- 
cerning a higher or lower degree of utility for life ; 
and likewise where new maxims proved to be, not 
necessarily useful, but at least not injurious, as ex- 
pressions of an intellectual impulse to play a game 
that was like all games innocent and happy. 
The human brain was gradually filled with such 
judgments and convictions ; and in this tangled 
skein there arose ferment, strife and lust for power. 
Not only utility and delight, but every kind of 
impulse took part in the struggle for " truths " : the 
intellectual struggle became a business, an attrac- 
tion, a calling, a duty, an honour — : cognizing and 
striving for the true finally arranged themselves as 
needs among other needs. From that moment, 
not only belief and conviction, but also examination, 
denial, distrust and contradiction became forces ; 
all " evil " instincts were subordinated to know- 
ledge, were placed in its service, and acquired the 


prestige of the permitted, the honoured, the useful, 
and finally the appearance and innocence of the 
good. Knowledge, thus became a portion of life 
itself, and as life it became a continually growing 
power: until finally the cognitions and those 
primeval, fundamental errors clashed with each 
other, both as life, both as power, both in the 
same man. The thinker is now the being in 
whom the impulse to truth and those life- 
preserving errors wage their first conflict, now 
that the impulse to truth has also proved itself 
to be a life-preserving power. In comparison with 
the importance of this conflict everything else is 
indifferent ; the final question concerning the con- 
ditions of life is here raised, and the first attempt 
is here made to answer it by experiment. How 
far is truth susceptible of embodiment? — that is 
the question, that is the experiment. 


Origin of the Logical. — Where has logic origin- 
ated in men's heads? Undoubtedly out of the 
illogical, the domain of which must originally 
lave been immense. But numberless beings who 
reasoned otherwise than we do at present, perished ; 
albeit that they may have come nearer to truth 
than we ! Whoever, for example, could not discern 
the " like " often enough with regard to food, and 
with regard to animals dangerous to him, whoever, 
therefore, deduced too slowly, or was too circum- 
spect in his deductions, had smaller probability of 
survival than he who in all similar cases immedi- 
ately divined the equality. The preponderating 


inclination, however, to deal with the similar as f\ 
the equal — an illogical inclination, for there is no- 
thing e:qual in itself — first created the whole basis 
of logic. It was just so (in order that the con- 
ception of substance should originate, this being 
indispensable to logic, although in the strictest 
sense nothing actual corresponds to it) that for a 
long period the changing process in things had to 
be overlooked, and remain unperceived ; the beings 
not seeing correctly had an advantage over those 
who saw everything " in flux." In itself every 
high degree of circumspection in conclusions, every 
sceptical inclination, is a great danger to life. No 
living being might have been preserved unless the 
contrary inclination — to affirm rather than suspend 
judgment, to mistake and fabricate rather than wait, 
to assent rather than deny, to decide rather than 
be in the right — had been cultivated with extra- 
ordinary assiduity. — The course of logical thought 
and reasoning in our modern brain corresponds to 
a process and struggle of impulses, which singly 
and in themselves are all very illogical and un- 
just ; we experience usually only the result of the 
struggle, so rapidly and secretly does this primitive 
mechanism now operate in us. 


Cause and Effect. — We say it is " explanation " ; 
but it is only in "description" that we are in 
advance of the older stages of knowledge and 
science. We describe better, — we explain just as 
little as our predecessors. We have discovered a 
manifold succession where the naive man and 


investigator of older cultures saw only two things, 
" cause " and " effect," as it was said ; we have per- 
fected the conception of becoming, but have not 
got a knowledge of what is above and behind the 
conception. The series of " causes " stands before 
us much more complete in every case ; we conclude 
that this and that must first precede in order that 
that other may follow — but we have not grasped 
anything thereby. The peculiarity, for example, in 
every chemical process seems a " miracle," the same 
as before, just like all locomotion ; nobody has 
" explained " impulse. How could we ever explain ! 
We operate only with things which do not exist, 
with lines, surfaces, bodies, atoms, divisible times, 
divisible spaces — how can explanation ever be 
possible when we first make everything a conception, 
our conception ! It is sufficient to regard science 
as the exactest humanising of things that is 
possible ; we always learn to describe ourselves 
more accurately by describing things and their 
successions. Cause and effect: there is probably 
never any such duality ; in fact there is a continuum 
before us, from which we isolate a few portions ; — 
just as we always observe a motion as isolated 
points, and therefore do not properly see it, but 
infer it. The abruptness with which many effects 
take place leads us into error ; it is however only 
an abruptness for us. There is an infinite multitude 
of processes in that abrupt moment which escape 
us. An intellect which could see cause and effect 
as a continuum, which could see the flux of events 
not according to our mode of perception, as things 
arbitrarily separated and broken — would throw aside 


the conception of cause and effect, and would deny 
all conditionality. 


The Theory of Poisons. — So many things have 
to be united in order that scientific thinking may 
arise, and all the necessary powers must have 
been devised, exercised, and fostered singly ! In 
their isolation, however, they have very often had 
quite a different effect than at present, when they 
are confined within the limits of scientific thinking 
and kept mutually in check : — they have operated 
as poisons ; for example, the doubting impulse, the 
denying impulse, the waiting impulse, the collect- 
ing impulse, the disintegrating impulse. Many 
hecatombs of men were sacrificed ere these impulses 
learned to understand their juxtaposition and 
regard themselves as functions of one organising 
force in one man ! And how far are we still from 
the point at which the artistic powers and the prac- 
tical wisdom of life shall co-operate with scientific 
thinking, so that a higher organic system may be 
formed, in relation to which the scholar, the physi- 
cian, the artist, and the lawgiver, as we know them 
at present, will seem sorry antiquities ! 


The Extent of the Moral. — We construct a new 
picture, which we see immediately with the aid 
of all the old experiences which we have had, 
always according to the degree of our honesty and 
justice. The only experiences are moral experi- 
ences, even in the domain of sense-perception. 



The Four Errors. — Man has been reared by his 
errors : firstly, he saw himself always imperfect ; 
secondly, he attributed to himself imaginary 
qualities ; thirdly, he felt himself in a false position 
in relation to the animals and nature ; fourthly, he 
always devised new tables of values, and accepted 
them for a time as eternal and unconditioned, so 
that at one time this, and at another time that 
human impulse or state stood first, and was en- 
nobled in consequence. When one has deducted 
the effect of these four errors, one has also deducted 
humanity, humaneness, and " human dignity." 


Herd-Instinct. — Wherever we meet with a 
morality we find a valuation and order of rank 
of the human impulses and activities. These 
valuations and orders of rank are always the 
expression of the needs of a community or herd : 
that which is in the first place to its advantage — 
and in the second place and third place — is also 
the authoritative standard for the worth of every 
individual. By morality the individual is taught 
to become a function of the herd, and to ascribe to 
himself value only as a function. As the condi- 
tions for the maintenance of one community have 
been very different from those of another com- 
munity, there have been very different moralities ; 
and in respect to the future essential transforma- 
tions of herds and communities, states and societies, 
one can prophesy that there will still be very diver- 


gent moralities. Morality is the herd-instinct in 
the individual. 


The Herd's Sting of Conscience. — In the longest 
and remotest ages of the human race there was 
quite a different sting of conscience from that of 
the present day. At present one only feels respon- 
sible for what one intends and for what one does, 
and we have our pride in ourselves. All our pro- 
fessors of jurisprudence start with this sentiment 
of individual independence and pleasure, as if the 
source of right had taken its rise here from the 
beginning. But throughout the longest period in 
the life of mankind there was nothing more terrible 
to a person than to feel himself independent. To 
be alone, to feel independent, neither to obey nor 
to rule, to represent an individual — that was no 
pleasure to a person then, but a punishment ; he 
was condemned "to be an individual." Freedom 
of thought was regarded as discomfort personified. 
While we feel law and regulation as constraint and 
loss, people formerly regarded egoism as a painful 
thing, and a veritable evil. For a person to 
be himself, to value himself according to his own 
measure and weight — that was then quite distaste- 
ful. The inclination to such a thing would have 
been regarded as madness ; for all miseries and 
terrors were associated with being alone. At that 
time the " free will " had bad conscience in close 
proximity to it ; and the less independently a 
person acted, the more the herd-instinct, and not 
his personal character, expressed itself in his 


conduct, SO much the more moral did he esteem 
himself. All that did injury to the herd, whether 
the individual had intended it or not, then caused 
him a sting of conscience— and his neighbour like- 
wise, indeed the whole herd !— It is in this respect 
that we have most changed our mode of thinking. 

Benevolence.— \s it virtuous when a cell trans- 
forms itself into the function of a stronger cell ? It 
must do so. And is it wicked when the stronger one 
assimilates the other? It must do so likewise : it 
is necessary, for it has to have abundant indemnity 
and seeks to regenerate itself. One has there- 
fore to distinguish the instinct of appropriation 
and the instinct of submission in benevolence, 
according as the stronger or the weaker feels 
benevolent. Gladness and covetousness are united 
in the stronger person, who wants to trans- 
form something to his function: gladness and 
desire -to -be -coveted in the weaker person, who 
would like to become a function.— The former 
case is essentially pity, a pleasant excitation of 
the instinct of appropriation at the sight of the 
weak: it is to be remembered, however, that 
" strong " and " weak " are relative conceptions. 

No Altruism !—l see in many men an excessive 
impulse and delight in wanting to be a function ; 
they strive after it, and have the keenest scent 
for all those positions in which precisely i/iey 
themselves can be functions. Among such persons 


are those women who transform themselves into 
just that function of a man that is but weakly- 
developed in him, and then become his purse, or 
his politics, or his social intercourse. Such beings 
maintain themselves best when they insert them- 
selves in an alien organism ; if they do not 
succeed they become vexed, irritated, and eat 
themselves up. 


Health of the Soul. — The favourite medico-moral 
formula (whose originator was Ariston of Chios), 
"Virtue is the health of the soul," would, for all 
practical purposes, have to be altered to this : 
" Thy virtue is the health of thy soul." For there 
is no such thing as health in itself, and all attempts 
to define a thing in that way have lamentably 
failed. It is necessary to know thy aim, thy 
horizon, thy powers, thy impulses, thy errors, and 
especially the ideals and fantasies of thy soul, in 
order to determine whathealth. implies even for thy 
dody. There are consequently innumerable kinds of 
physical health ; and the more one again permits 
the unique and unparalleled to raise its head, the 
more one unlearns the dogma of the " Equality of 
men," so much the more also must the conception 
of a normal health, together with a normal diet and 
a normal course of disease, be abrogated by our 
physicians. And then only would it be time to 
turn our thoughts to the health and disease of 
the soul, and make the special virtue of everyone 
consist in its health ; but, to be sure, what appeared 
as health in one person might appear as the con- 


trary of health in another. In the end the great 
question might still remain open : — Whether we 
could do without sickness for the development of 
our virtue, and whether our thirst for knowledge 
and self-knowledge would not especially need the 
sickly soul as well as the sound one ; in short, 
whether the mere will to health is not a prejudice, 
a cowardice, and perhaps an instance of the subtlest 
barbarism and unprogressiveness ? 


Life no Argument. — We have arranged for our- 
selves a world in which we can live — by the 
postulating of bodies, lines, surfaces, causes and 
effects, motion and rest, form and content : without 
these articles of faith no one could manage to live 
at present 1 But for all that they are still unproved. 
Life is no argument ; error might be among the 
conditions of life. 


The Element of Moral Scept icism in Christianity. 
— Christianity also has made a great contribution 
to enlightenment, and has taught moral scepticism 
— in a very impressive and effective manner, 
accusing and embittering, but with untiring 
patience and subtlety ; it annihilated in every 
individual the belief in his virtues : it made the 
great virtuous ones, of whom antiquity had no lack, 
vanish for ever from the earth, those popular men, 
who, in the belief in their perfection, walked about 
with the dignity of a hero of the bull-fight. When, 
trained in this Christian school of scepticism, we 


now read the moral books of the ancients, for 
example those of Seneca and Epictetus, we feel 
a pleasurable superiority, and are full of secret 
insight and penetration, — it seems to us as if a child 
talked before an old man, or a pretty, gushing girl 
before La Rochefoucauld : — we know better what 
virtue is ! After all, however, we have applied the 
same scepticism to all religious states and processes, 
such as sin, repentance, grace, sanctification, &c., and 
have allowed the worm to burrow so well, that we 
have now the same feeling of subtle superiority and 
insight even in reading all Christian books : — we 
know also the religious feelings better ! And it is 
time to know them well and describe them well, 
for the pious ones of the old belief die out also ; 
let us save their likeness and type, at least for the 
sake of knowledge. 


Knowledge more than a Means. — Also without 
this passion — I refer to the passion for knowledge 
— science would be furthered : science has hitherto 
increased and grown up without it. The good 
faith in science, the prejudice in its favour, by 
which States are at present dominated (it was even 
the Church formerly), rests fundamentally on the 
fact that the absolute inclination and impulse has 
'so rarely revealed itself in it, and that science 
is regarded not as a passion, but as a condition 
and an "ethos." Indeed, amour-plaisir of know- 
ledge (curiosity) often enough suffices, amour-vaniti 
suffices, and habituation to it, with the afterthought 
of obtaining honour and bread ; it even suffices 


for many that they do not know what to do with 
a surplus of leisure, except to continue reading, 
collecting, arranging, observing and narrating ; their 
"scientific impulse" is their ennui. Pope Leo X 
once (in the brief to Beroaldus) sang the praise of 
science; he designated it as the finest ornament 
and the greatest pride of our life, a noble employ- 
ment in happiness and in misfortune ; " without it, 
he says finally, "all human undertakings would be 
without a firm basis,-even with it they are still 
sufficiently mutable and insecure ! " But this rather 
sceptical Pope, like all other ecclesiastical pane- 
gyrists of science, suppressed his ultimate judg- 
ment concerning it. If one may deduce from his 
words what is remarkable enough for such a lover 
of art, that he places science above art, it is alter 
all, however, only from politeness that he omits to 
speak of that which he places high above all science : 
the "revealed truth," and the "eternal salvation ot 
the soul,"-what are ornament, pride, entertainment 
and security of life to him, in comparison thereto? 
"Science is something of secondary rank, nothing 
ultimate or unconditioned, no object of passion - 
this judgment was kept back in Leo's soul : the 
truly Christian judgment concerning science! In 
antiquity its dignity and appreciation were lessened 
by the fact that, even among its most eager 
disciples, the striving after virtue stood foremost 
and that people thought they had given the highest 
praise to knowledge when they celebrated it as the 
best means to virtue. It is something new in 
history that knowledge claims to be more than 
a means. 


In the Horizon of the Infinite. — We have left the 
land and have gone aboard ship ! We have broken 
down the bridge behind us, — nay, more, the land 
behind us! Well, little ship! look out! Beside 
thee is the ocean ; it is true it does not always 
roar, and sometimes it spreads out like silk and 
gold and a gentle reverie. But times will come 
when thou wilt feel that it is infinite, and that 
there is nothing more frightful than infinity. Oh, 
the poor bird that felt itself free, and now strikes 
against the walls of this cage ! Alas, if home- 
sickness for the land should attack thee, as if there 
had been more freedom there, — and there is no 
" land " any longer ! 

The Madman, — Have you ever heard of the 
madman who on a bright morning lighted a lantern 
and ran to the market-place calling out unceasingly : 
" I seek God ! I seek God ! " — As there were many 
people standing about who did not believe in God, 
he caused a great deal of amusement. Why ! is 
he lost? said one. Has he strayed away like a 
child? said another. Or does he keep himself 
hidden ? Is he afraid of us ? Has he taken a sea- 
voyage? Has he emigrated? — the people cried 
out laughingly, all in a hubbub. The insane man 
jumped into their midst and transfixed them with 
his glances. " Where is God gone ? " he called out. 
" I mean to tell you ! We have killed him, — you 
and I ! We are all his murderers ! But how have 
we done it? How were we able to drink up the 


sea ? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the 
whole horizon ? What did we do when we loosened 
this earth from its sun? Whither does it now 
move? Whither do we move? Away from all 
suns? Do we not dash on unceasingly? Back- 
wards, sideways, forewards, in all directions? Is 
there still an above and below ? Do we not stray, 
as through infinite nothingness ? Does not empty 
space breathe upon us ? Has it not become colder ? 
Does not night come on continually, darker and 
darker? Shall we not have to light lanterns in 
the morning? Do we not hear the noise of the 
grave-diggers who are burying God ? Do we not 
smell the divine putrefaction? — for even Gods 
putrefy ! God is dead ! God remains dead ! And 
we have killed him ! How shall we console our- 
selves, the most murderous of all murderers ? The 
holiest and the mightiest that the world has hitherto 
possessed, has bled to death under our knife, — who 
will wipe the blood from us? With what water 
could we cleanse ourselves ? What lustrums, what 
sacred games shall we have to devise? Is not the 
magnitude of this deed too great for us ? Shall we 
not ourselves have to become Gods, merely to seem 
worthy of it ? There never was a greater event, — 
and on account of it, all who are born after us 
belong to a higher history than any history 
hitherto!" — Here the madman was silent and 
looked again at his hearers ; they also were silent 
and looked at him in surprise. At last he threw 
his lantern on the ground, so that it broke in 
pieces and was extinguished. " I come too early," 
he then said, " I am not yet at the right time. This 


prodigious event is still on its way, and is travelling, 
— it has not yet reached men's ears. Lightning 
and thunder need time, the light of the stars needs 
time, deeds need time, even after they are done, to 
be seen and heard. This deed is as yet further 
from them than the furthest star, — and yet they have 
done it!'' — It is further stated that the madman 
made his way into different churches on the same 
day, and there intoned his Requiem aeternam deo. 
When led out and called to account, he always gave 
the reply : " What are these churches now, if they 
are not the tombs and monuments of God ? " — 


Mystical Explanations. — Mystical explanations 
are regarded as profound ; the truth is that they do 
not even go the length of being superficial. 


After-Effect of the most Ancient Religiousness. — 
The thoughtless man thinks that the Will is the 
only thing that operates, that willing is something 
simple, manifestly given, underived, and comprehen- 
sible in itself He is convinced that when he does 
anything, for example, when he delivers a blow, 
it is he who strikes, and he has struck because 
he willed to strike. He does not notice any- 
thing of a problem therein, but the feeling of 
willing suffices to him, not only for the acceptance 
of cause and effect, but also for the belief that he 
understands their relationship. Of the mechanism 
of the occurrence, and of the manifold subtle opera- 


tions that must be performed in order that the 
blow may result, and likewise of the incapacity 
of the Will in itself to effect even the smallest part 
of those operations — he knows nothing. The Will 
is to him a magically operating force; the belief 
in the Will as the cause of effects is the belief in 
magically operating forces. In fact, whenever he saw 
anything happen, man originally believed in a Will 
as cause, and in personally willing beings operating 
in the background, — the conception of mechanism 
was very remote from him. Because, however, man 
for immense periods of time believed only in 
persons (and not in matter, forces, things, &c.), 
the belief in cause and effect has become a funda- 
mental belief with him, which he applies every- 
where when anything happens, — and even still uses 
instinctively as a piece of atavism of remotest origin. 
The propositions, " No effect without a cause," and 
" Every effect again implies a cause," appear as 
generalisations of several less general propositions : 
— "Where there is operation there has been willing" 
"Operating is only possible on willing beings." 
"There is never a pure, resultless experience of 
activity, but every experience involves stimulation 
of the Will " (to activity, defence, revenge or retalia- 
tion). But in the primitive period of the human 
race, the latter and the former propositions were 
identical, the first were not generalisations of the 
second, but the second were explanations of the 
first. — Schopenhauer, with his assumption that all 
that exists is something volitional, has set a primi- 
tive mythology on the throne ; he seems never to 
have attempted an analysis of the Will, because 


he believed like everybody in the simph'city and 
immediateness of all volition : — while volition is 
in fact such a cleverly practised mechanical process 
that it almost escapes the observing eye. I set the 
following propositions against those of Schopen- 
hauer :— Firstly, in order that Will may arise, an 
idea of pleasure and pain is necessary. Secondly, 
that a vigorous excitation may be felt as pleasure 
or pain, is the affair of the interpreting intellect, 
which, to be sure, operates thereby for the most part 
unconsciously to us, and one and the same excita- 
tion may be interpreted as pleasure or pain. Thirdly, 
it is only in an intellectual being that there is 
pleasure, displeasure and Will; the immense 
majority of organisms have nothing of the kind. 

The Value of Prayer.—? xd^y^r has been devised 
for such men as have never any thoughts of their 
own, and to whom an elevation of the soul is un- 
known, or passes unnoticed; what shall these 
people do in holy places and in all important situa- 
tions in life which require repose and some kind of 
dignity ? In order at least that they may not dis- 
turb, the wisdom of all the founders of religions, the 
small as well as the great, has commended to them 
the formula of prayer, as a long mechanical labour 
of the lips, united with an effort of the memory, 
and with a uniform, prescribed attitude of hands' 
and feet— ««^ eyes! They may then, like the 
Tibetans, chew the cud of their '' om mane padme 
hum;' innumerable times, or, as in Benares, count 
the name of the God Ram-Ram-Ram (etc., with or 


without grace) on their fingers ; or honour Vishnu 
with his thousand names of invocation, Allah with 
his ninety-nine ; or they may make use of the 
prayer-wheels and the rosary : the main thing is 
that they are settled down for a time at this 
work, and present a tolerable appearance; their 
mode of prayer is devised for the advantage of 
the pious who have thought and elevation of their 
own. But even these have their weary hours when 
a series of venerable words and sounds, and a 
mechanical, pious ritual does them good. But sup- 
posing that these rare men— in every religion the 
religious man is an exception — know how to help 
themselves, the poor in spirit do not know, and 
to forbid them the prayer-babbling would mean 
to take their religion from them, a fact which 
Protestantism brings more and more to light. All 
that religion wants with such persons is that they 
should keep still with their eyes, hands, legs, and 
all their organs : they thereby become temporarily 
beautified and— more human-looking 1 


The Conditions for God.—'' God himself cannot 
subsist without wise men," said Luther, and with 
good reason ; but " God can still less subsist with- 
out unwise men,"— good Luther did not say that ! 

A Dangerous Resolution.— 1\^^ Christian resolu- 
tion to find the world ugly and bad, has made the 
world ugly and bad. 




Christianity and Suicide. — Christianity made use 
of the excessive longing for suicide at the time of 
its origin as a lever for its power : it left only two 
forms of suicide, invested them with the highest 
dignity and the highest hopes, and forbade all 
others with dreadful threatenings. But martyrdom 
and the slow self-annihilation of the ascetic were 


Against Christianity. — It is now no longer our 
reason, but our taste that decides against 


Axioms. — An unavoidable hypothesis on which 
mankind must always fall back again, is in the 
long run more powerful than the most firmly 
believed belief in something untrue (like the 
Christian belief). In the long run: that means 
a hundred thousand years hence. 

Pessimists as Victims. — When a profound dislike 
of existence gets the upper hand, the after-effect 
of a great error in diet of which a people has been 
long guilty comes to light. The spread of Buddhism 
{not its origin) is thus to a considerable extent 
dependent on the excessive and almost exclusive 
rice-fare of the Indians, and on the universal 
enervation that results therefrom. Perhaps the 
modern, European discontentedness is to be looked 


upon as caused by the fact that the world of our 
forefathers, the whole Middle Ages, was given to 
drink, owing to the influence of German tastes in 
Europe : the Middle Ages, that means the alcoholic 
poisonmg of Europe.— The German dislike of life 
(mcludmg the influence of the cellar-air and stove- 
poison in German dwellings), is essentially a cold- 
weather complaint. 

^ 135. 
Origin of 5/«.-Sin, as it is at present felt 
wherever Christianity prevails or has prevailed is 
a Jewish feeling and a Jewish invention ; and' in 
respect to this background of all Christian morality 
Christianity has in fact aimed at "Judaising" the 
whole world. To what an extent this has suc- 
ceeded in Europe is traced most accurately in our 
remarkable alienness to Greek antiquity— a world 
without the feeling of sin— in our sentiments even 
at present ; in spite of all the good will to approxi- 
mation and assimilation, which whole generations 
and many distinguished individuals have not 
failed to display. "Only when thou repentest is 
God gracious to thee"— that would arouse the 
laughter or the wrath of a Greek : he would say, 
"Slaves may have such sentiments." Here a 
mighty being, an almighty being, and yet a re- 
vengeful being, is presupposed ; his power is so 
great that no injury whatever can be done to him 
except in the point of honour. Every sin is an 
infringement of respect, a crimen IcescB majestatis 
dzvtn<s— and nothing more ! Contrition, degrada- 
tion, rolling-in-the-dust,— these are the first and 


last conditions on which his favour depends : the 
restoration, therefore, of his divine honour! If 
injury be caused otherwise by sin, if a profound, 
spreading evil be propagated by it, an evil which, 
like a disease, attacks and strangles one man after 
another — that does not trouble this honour-craving 
Oriental in heaven ; sin is an offence against him, 
not against mankind ! — to him on whom he has 
bestowed his favour he bestows also this indiffer- 
ence to the natural consequences of sin. God 
and mankind are here thought of as separated,, 
as so antithetical that sin against the latter cannot . 
be at all possible, — all deeds are to be looked upon " 
solely with respect to their supernatural consequences, . 
and not with respect to their natural results : it is 
thus that the Jewish feeling, to which all that is 
natural seems unworthy in itself, would have things. 
The Greeks, on the other hand, were more familiar 
with the thought that transgression also may have 
dignity, — even theft, as in the case of Prometheus, 
even the slaughtering of cattle as the expression of 
frantic jealousy, as in the case of Ajax ; in their 
need to attribute dignity to transgression and 
embody it therein, they invented tragedy, — an art 
and a delight, which in its profoundest essence 
has remained alien to the Jew, in spite of all his 
poetic endowment and taste for the sublime. 


The Chosen People. — The Jews, who regard them- 
selves as the chosen people among the nations, and 
that too because they are the moral genius among 
the nations (in virtue of their capacity for despising 


the human in themselves more than any other 
people)— the Jews have a pleasure in their divine 
monarch and saint similar to that which the French 
nobility had in Louis XIV. This nobility had 
allowed its power and autocracy to be taken from 
it, and had become contemptible : in order not to 
feel this, in order to be able to forget it, an un- 
equalled royal magnificence, royal authority and 
plenitude of power was needed, to which there was 
access only for the nobility. As in accordance 
with this privilege they raised themselves to the 
elevation of the court, and from that elevation saw 
everything under them, — saw everything con- 
temptible, — they got beyond all uneasiness of con- 
science. They thus elevated intentionally the 
tower of the royal power more and more into the 
clouds, and set the final coping-stone of their own 
power thereon. 

Spoken in Parable. — A Jesus Christ was only 
possible in a Jewish landscape — I mean in one 
over which the gloomy and sublime thunder-cloud 
of the angry Jehovah hung continually. Here only 
was the rare, sudden flashing of a single sunbeam 
through the dreadful, universal and continuous 
nocturnal-day regarded as a miracle of "love," 
as a beam of the most unmerited " grace." Here 
only could Christ dream of his rainbow and 
celestial ladder on which God descended to man ; 
everywhere else the clear weather and the sun 
were considered the rule and the commonplace. 


The Error of Christ— ThQ founder of Christianity 
thought there was nothing from which men suffered 
so much as from their sins : — it was his error, the 
error of him who felt himself without sin, to whom 
experience was lacking in this respect! It was 
thus that his soul filled with that marvellous, 
fantastic pity which had reference to a trouble that 
even among his own people, the inventors of sin, 
was rarely a great trouble ! But Christians under- 
stood subsequently how to do justice to their master, 
and how to sanctify his error into a " truth." 

Colour of the Passio7is. — Natures such as the 
apostle Paul, have an evil eye for the passions; 
they learn to know only the filthy, the distorting, 
and the heart-breaking in them,— their ideal aim, 
therefore, is the annihilation of the passions ; in the 
divine they see complete purification from passion. 
The Greeks, quite otherwise than Paul and the 
Jews, directed their ideal aim precisely to the 
passions, and loved, elevated, embellished and deified 
them : in passion they evidently not only felt them- 
selves happier, but also purer and diviner than 
otherwise.— And now the Christians ? Have they 
wished to become Jews in this respect? Have 
they perhaps become Jews ? 

Too fewish.~U God had wanted to become an 
object of love, he would first of all have had to 



forgo judging and justice :-a judge, and even 
gracious judge, is no object of love. The founder 
of Christianity showed too h'ttle of the finer fedings 
in this respect— being a Jew. 


Too Onen^al-Wh^t? A God who loves men 
frf^M ! ' ^hey believe in him, and who hurls' 
frightful glances and threatenings at him who does 
not believe m this love! What? A conditioned 
love as the feeling of an almighty God ! A love 
which has not even become master of the sentiment 
of honour and of the irritable desire for vengeance f 
How Oriental is all that ! « If I love thee, what does 
It concern thee ?" * is already a sufficient criticism 
ot the whole of Christianity. 

Fmnh-ncmse.~Buddha says: "Do not flatter 
thy benefactor ! " Let one repeat this saying in a 
Christian church :-it immediately purifies the air 
of all Christianity. 

^ TAe Greatest Utility of Pofytkeism.~¥or the 
individual to set up his own ideal and derive from 
It his laws, his pleasures and his nghts—that has 
perhaps been hitherto regarded as the most mon- 
strous of all human aberrations, and as idolatry in 
Itself; in fact, the few who have ventured to do this 
have always needed to apologise to themselves, 

^* This means that true love does not look for reciprocity. 


usually in this wise : " Not I ! not I ! but a God, 
through my instrumentality ! " It was in the mar- 
vellous art and capacity for creating Gods — in poly- 
theism — that this impulsewas permitted todischarge 
itself, it was here that it became purified, perfected, 
and ennobled ; for it was originally a commonplace 
and unimportant impulse, akin to stubbornness, dis- 
obedience and envy. To be hostile to this impulse 
towards the individual ideal, — that was formerly the 
law of every morality. There was then only one 
norm, " the man " — and every people believed that 
it had this one and ultimate norm. But above 
himself, and outside of himself, in a distant over- 
world, a person could see a multitude of norms : the 
one God was not the denial or blasphemy of the 
other Gods ! It was here that individuals were first 
permitted, it was here that the right of individuals 
was first respected. The inventing of Gods, heroes, 
and supermen of all kinds, as well as co-ordinate 
men and undermen — dwarfs, fairies, centaurs, 
satyrs, demons, devils — was the inestimable pre- 
liminary to the justification of the selfishness 
and sovereignty of the individual: the freedom 
which was granted to one God in respect to other 
Gods, was at last given to the individual himself 
in respect to laws, customs and neighbours. 
Monotheism, on the contrary, the rigid consequence 
of the doctrine of one normal human being — con- 
sequently the belief in a normal God, beside whom 
there are only false, spurious Gods — has perhaps 
been the greatest danger of mankind in the past : 
man was then threatened by that premature state 
of inertia, which, so far as we can see, most of the 


Other species of animals reached long a^o ;.. 
creatures who all bel.V^7^r? ;« ^ ^ ' ^^ 

and ideal r" .^^.^^^'^""^^ '^ one normal animal 

lafeH hT r^'' 'P^^^^'' ^"^ definitely trans- 

n no .T "'"'"^''^, °' ^"^'°"^ ^'"^° fl-^h and blood 
hinkilC rT "^'" ^ free-thinking and many-sided 

^ate for hfm' 1^°'^^!, "^ "^ ^ ^^^ P^-- to 
create for himself new and individual eyes alwav. 

newer and more individualised: so that ^t L fo 

man alone, of all the animals, that the re a ' - 

^/.r«^/ horizons and perspectives. "° 


rr. f'^KTu ^^^-^-The greatest advance of the 
ma ses hitherto has been religious war. for It profes 
that the masses have begun to deal reverently Clth 
conceptions of things. Religious wars o'y felu t 
when human reason generally has been refined b'' 
he s bt e disputes of sects ; so that even the popu- 
lace becomes punctilious and regards trifles as 

"tCiiar'r"" f v"'^^^^ '' possible :;fatth 

eternal salvation of the soul" niay deoend unn^ 
minute distinctions of concepts. ""^^ "^^^^"^ "P°" 

Danger of Vegetanans. - The immense ore 
valence of rice-eating impels to the us^of opC 

prevalence of potato - eating impels to the use 
of brandy :_it also impels, however in ilrJ. 
subtle after-effects to modes'of tLught and feSi": 
which operate narcotically. This is in ...^ ^ I 
the fact i-h:,f f 1,^0 u -^ms IS in accord with 

tWht and f , ^^°,r"^°te narcotic modes of 
thought and feeling, hke those Indian teachers, 


praise a purely vegetable diet, and would like to 
make it a law for the masses : they want thereby 
to call forth and augment the need which they are 
in a position to satisfy. 


German Hopes. — Do not let us forget that 
the names of peoples are generally names of 
reproach. The Tartars, for example, according 
to their name, are " the dogs " ; they were 
so christened by the Chinese. " Deutschen" 
(Germans) means originally " heathen " : it is thus 
that the Goths after their conversion named 
the great mass of their unbaptized fellow-tribes, 
according to the indication in their translation 
of the Septuagint, in which the heathen are 
designated by the word which in Greek signifies 
" the nations." (See Ulfilas.)— It might still be pos- 
sible for the Germans to make an honourable name 
ultimately out of their old name of reproach, by 
becoming the first non-Christian nation of Europe ; 
for which purpose Schopenhauer, to their honour, 
regarded them as highly qualified. The work of 
Luther would thus be consummated,— he who 
taught them to be anti-Roman, and to say : " Here 
/ stand ! / cannot do otherwise ! " — 

Question and Answer. — What do savage tribes 
at present accept first of all from Europeans? 
Brandy and Christianity, the European narcotics. — 
And by what means are they fastest ruined ?— By 
the European narcotics. 


Where Reformations Originate. — At the time of 
the great corruption of the church it was least of 
all corrupt in Germany: it was on that account 
that the Reformation originated here, as a sign 
that even the beginnings of corruption were felt to 
be unendurable. For, comparatively speaking, no 
people was ever more Christian than the Germans 
at the time of Luther ; their Christian culture was 
just about to burst into bloom with a hundred-fold 
splendour, — one night only was still lacking ; but 
that night brought the storm which put an end 
to all. 

The Failure of Reformations. — It testifies to the 
higher culture of the Greeks, even in rather early 
ages, that attempts to establish new Grecian 
religions frequently failed ; it testifies that quite 
early there must have been a multitude of dis- 
similar individuals in Greece, whose dissimilar 
troubles were not cured by a single recipe of faith 
and hope. Pythagoras and Plato, perhaps also 
Empedocles, and already much earlier the Orphic 
enthusiasts, aimed at founding new religions ; and 
the two first-named were so endowed with the 
qualifications for founding religions, that one can- 
not be sufficiently astonished at their failure : they 
just reached the point of founding sects. Every 
time that the Reformation of an entire people 
fails and only sects raise their heads, one may 
conclude that the people already contains many 
types, and has begun to free itself from the gross 


herding instincts and the morality of custom, — a 
momentous state of suspense, which one is accus- 
tomed to disparage as decay of morals and 
corruption, while it announces the maturing of 
the egg and the early rupture of the shell. That 
Luther'^ Reformation succeeded in the north, is a 
sign that the north had remained backward in com- 
parison with the south of Europe, and still had 
requirements tolerably uniform in colour and kind ; 
and there would have been no Christianising of 
Europe at all, if the culture of the old world of the 
south had not been gradually barbarized by an 
excessive admixture of the blood of German 
barbarians, and thus lost its ascendency. The 
more universally and unconditionally an individual, 
or the thought of an individual, can operate, so 
much more homogeneous and so much lower must 
be the mass that is there operated upon ; while 
counter-strivings betray internal counter-require- 
ments, which also want to gratify and realise them- 
selves. Reversely, one may always conclude with 
regard to an actual elevation of culture, when 
powerful and ambitious natures only produce a 
limited and sectarian effect : this is true also for the 
separate arts, and for the provinces of knowledge. 
Where there is ruling there are masses: where 
there are masses there is need of slavery. Where 
there is slavery the individuals are but lew, and 
have the instincts and conscience of the herd 
opposed to them. 

Criticism of Saints. — Must one then, in order to 
have a virtue, be desirous of having it precisely 


in its most brutal form?— as the Christian saints 
desired and needed ; — those who only endured life 
with the thought that at the sight of their virtue 
self-contempt might seize every man. A virtue 
with such an effect I call brutal. 

The Origin of Religion. — The. metaphysical 
requirement is not the origin of religions, as 
Schopenhauer claims, but only a later sprout from 
them. Under the dominance of religious thoughts 
we have accustomed ourselves to the idea of 
" another (back, under, or upper) worid," and feel 
an uncomfortable void and privation through the 
annihilation of the religious illusion; — and then 
"another worid" grows out of this feeling once 
more, but now it is only a metaphysical world, and 
no longer a religious one. That however which in 
general led to the assumption of " another world " 
in primitive times, was not an impulse or require- 
ment, but an error in the interpretation of certain 
natural phenomena, a difficulty of the intellect. 

The greatest Change. — The lustre and the hues 
of all things have changed ! We no longer quite 
understand how earlier men conceived of the most 
familiar and frequent things,— for example, of the 
day, and the awakening in the morning : owing to 
their belief in dreams the waking state seemed to 
them differently illuminated. And similarly of the 
whole of life, with its reflection of death and its 
significance: our "death" is an entirely different 


death. All events were of a different lustre, for 
a God shone forth in them ; and similarly of all 
resolutions and peeps into the distant future : 
for people had oracles, and secret hints, and be- 
lieved in prognostication. " Truth " was conceived 
in quite a different manner, for the insane could 
formerly be regarded as its mouthpiece — a thing 
which makes «j shudder, or laugh. Injustice made 
a different impression on the feelings : for people 
were afraid of divine retribution, and not only of 
legal punishment and disgrace. What joy was 
there in an age when men believed in the devil 
and tempter! What passion was there when 
people saw demons lurking close at hand ! What 
philosophy was there when doubt was regarded as 
sinfulness of the most dangerous kind, and in fact 
as an outrage on eternal love, as distrust of every- 
thing good, high, pure, and compassionate ! — We 
have coloured things anew, we paint them over 
continually, — but what have we been able to do 
hitherto in comparison with the splendid colouring 
of that old master ! — I mean ancient humanity. 

Homo poeta. — "I myself who have made this 
tragedy of tragedies altogether independently, in 
so far as it is completed ; I who have first entwined 
the perplexities of morality about existence, and 
have tightened them so that only a God could 
unravel them — so Horace demands ! — I have 
already in the fourth act killed all the Gods — 
for the sake of morality! What is now to be 
done about the fifth act ? Where shall I get the 


tragic denouement! Must I now think about 
a comic difnouement ? " 

' Differences in the Dangerousness of Life. — You 
don't know at all what you experience ; you run 
through life as if intoxicated, and now and then 
fall down a stair. Thanks however to your intoxi- 
cation you stiir do not break your limbs: your 
muscles are too languid and your head too confused 
to find the stones of the staircase as hard as we 
others do ! For, us life is a greater danger : we are 
made of glass — alas, if we should strike against 
anything ! And all is lost if we should;'^/// 


What we Lack. — We love ^& grandeur oi'^^Xwxh^ 
and have discovered it ; that is because human 
grandeur is lacking in our minds. It was the 
reverse with the Greeks : their feeling towards 
Nature was quite different from ours. 


The most Influential Person. — The fact that a 
person resists the whole spirit of his age, stops it 
at the door and calls it to account, must exert an 
influence ! It is indifferent whether he wishes to 
exert an influence ; the point is that he can. 

Mentiri. — Take care ! — he reflects : he will 
have a lie ready immediately. This is a stage in 


the civilisation of whole nations. Consider only 
what the Romans expressed by mentiri ! 

An Inconvenient Peculiarity. — To find everything 
deep is an inconvenient peculiarity : it makes one 
constantly strain one's eyes, so that in the end 
one always finds more than one wishes. 

Every Virtue has its Time. — The honesty of 
him who is at present inflexible often causes 
him remorse; for inflexibility is the virtue of a time 
different from that in which honesty prevails. 

In Intercourse with Virtues. — One can also be 
undignified and flattering towards a virtue. 


To the Admirers of the Age. — The runaway priest 
and the liberated criminal are continually making 
grimaces ; what they want is a look without a past. 
— But have you ever seen men who know that their 
looks reflect the future, and who are so courteous to 
you, the admirers of the " age," that they assume a 
look without a future ? — 


Egoism. — Egoism is the perspective law of our 
sentiment, according to which the near appears 
large and momentous, while in the distance the 
magnitude and importance of all things diminish. 



After a Great Victory. — The best thing in a great 
victory is that it deprives the conqueror of the fear 
of defeat. " Why should I not be worsted for 
once ? " he says to himself, " I am now rich enough 
to stand it." 


Those who Seek Repose. — I recognise the minds 
that seek repose by the many dark objects with 
which they surround themselves : those who want 
to sleep darken their chambers, or creep into 
caverns. A hint to those who do not know what 
they really seek most, and would like to know ! 

The Happiness of Renunciation. — He who has 
absolutely dispensed with something for a long 
time will almost imagine, when he accidentally 
meets with it again, that he has discovered it, — and 
what happiness every discoverer has ! Let us be 
wiser than the serpents that He too long in the 
same sunshine. 


Always in our own Society. — All that is akin to 
me in nature and history speaks to me, praises me, 
urges me forward and comforts me — : other things 
are unheard by me, or immediately forgotten. We 
are only in our own society always. 


Misanthropy and Philanthropy. — We only speak 
about being sick of men when we can no longer 


digest them, and yet have the stomach full of 
them. Misanthropy is the result of a far too eager 
philanthropy and "cannibalism," — but who ever 
bade you swallow men like oysters, my Prince 
Hamlet ? 


Concerning an Invalid. — " Things go badly with 
him ! " — What is wrong ? — " He suffers from the 
longing to be praised, and finds no sustenance for 
it." — Inconceivable ! All the world does honour 
to him, and he is reverenced not only in deed but 
in word ! — " Certainly, but he is dull of hearing for 
the praise. When a friend praises him it sounds to 
him as if the friend praised himself; when an enemy 
praises him, it sounds to him as if the enemy wanted 
to be praised for it ; when, finally, some one else 
praises him — there are by no means so many of 
these, he is so famous ! — he is offended because 
they neither want him for a friend nor for an enemy; 
he is accustomed to say : ' What do I care for those 
who can still pose as the all-righteous towards 


Avowed Enemies. — Bravery in presence of an 
enemy is a thing by itself: a person may possess 
it and still be a coward and an irresolute num- 
skull. That was Napoleon's opinion concerning 
the " bravest man " he knew, Murat : — whence it 
follows that avowed enemies are indispensable to 
some men, if they are to attain to their virtue, to 
their manliness, to their cheerfulness. 



Wifh the Multitude. — He has hitherto gone with 
the multitude and is its panegyrist ; but one day he 
will be its opponent! For he follows it in the 
belief that his laziness will find its advantage 
thereby : he has not yet learned that the multitude 
is not lazy enough for him ! that it always presses 
forward ! that it does not allow any one to stand 
still ! — And he likes so well to stand still ! 


Fame, — When the gratitude of many to one 
casts aside all shame, then fame originates. 


The Perverter of Taste. — A : " You are a perverter 
of taste — they say so everywhere ! " B : " Certainly ! 
I pervert every one's taste for his party : — no party 
forgives me for that." 

To be Profound and to Appear Profound. — He 
who knows that he is profound strives for clearness ; 
he who would like to appear profound to the multi- 
tude strives for obscurity. The multitude thinks 
everything profound of which it cannot see the 
bottom ; it is so timid and goes so unwillingly into 
the water. 


Apart. — Parliamentarism, that is to say, the pub- 
lic permission to choose between five main political 


opinions, insinuates itself into the favour of the 
numerous class who would fain appear independent 
and individual, and like to fight for their opinions. 
After all, however, it is a matter of indifference 
whether one opinion is imposed upon the herd, or 
five opinions are permitted to it. — He who diverges 
from the five public opinions and goes apart, has 
always the whole herd against him. 

Concerning Eloquence. — What has hitherto had 
the most convincing eloquence? The rolling of 
the drum : and as long as kings have this at their 
command, they will always be the best orators and 
popular leaders. 


Compassion. — The poor, ruling princes! All their 
rights now change unexpectedly into claims, and 
all these claims immediately sound like preten- 
sions ! And if they but say " we," or " my people," 
wicked old Europe begins laughing. Verily, a 
chief-master-of-ceremonies of the modern world 
would make little ceremony with them ; perhaps 
he would decree that ^^ les souverains rangent aux 


On ^^Educational Matters." — In Germany an 
important educational means is lacking for higher 
men ; namely, the laughter of higher men ; these 
men do not laugh in Germany. 



For Moral Enlightenment. — The Germans must 
be talked out of their Mephistopheles— and out of 
their Faust also. These are two moral prejudices 
against the value of knowledge. 

Thoughts. — Thoughts are the shadows of our 
sentiments — always however obscurer, emptier 
and simpler. 


The Good Time for Free Spirits. — Free Spirits 
take liberties even with regard to Science — and 
meanwhile they are allowed to do so, — while the 
Church still remains! — In so far they have now 
their good time. 


Following and Leading. — A : " Of the two, the 
one will always follow, the other will always lead, 
whatever be the course of their destiny. And yet 
the former is superior to the other in virtue and 
intellect." B: "And yet? And yet? That is 
spoken for the others ; not for me, not for us ! 
— Fit secundum regulam." 


In Solitude. — When one lives alone one does 
not speak too loudly, and one does not write too 
loudly either, for one fears the hollow reverberation 
— the criticism of the nymph Echo. — And all voices 
sound differently in solitude ! 


The Music of the Best Future.— ThQ first musician 
for me would be he who knew only the sorrow of 
the profoundest happiness, and no other sorrow : 
there has not hitherto been such a musician. 

Justice. — Better allow oneself to be robbed than 
have scarecrows around one — that is my taste. 
And under all circumstances it is just a matter 
of taste — and nothing more ! 

Poor. — He is now poor, but not because every- 
thing has been taken from him, but because he has 
thrown everything away : — what does he care ? 
He is accustomed to find new things. — It is the 
poor who misunderstand his voluntary poverty. 

Bad Conscience. — All that he now does is ex- 
cellent and proper — and yet he has a bad con- 
science with it all. For the exceptional is his task. 

Offensiveness in Expression. — This artist offends 
me by the way in which he expresses his ideas, 
his very excellent ideas : so diffusely and forcibly, 
and with such gross rhetorical artifices, as if 
he were speaking to the mob. We feel always as 
if "in bad company" when devoting some time 
to his art. 


1 88. 

Work. — How closely work and the workers now 
stand even to the most leisurely of us ! The 
royal courtesy in the words : " We are all workers," 
would have been a cynicism and an indecency 
even under Louis XIV. 

The Thinker. — He is a thinker: that is to say, 
he knows how to take things more simply than 
they are. 

Against Eulogisers. — A : " One is only praised 
by one's equals ! " B : " Yes ! And he who praises 
you says : ' You are my equal ! ' " 

Against many a Vindication. — The most per- 
fidious manner of injuring a cause is to vindicate it 
intentionally with fallacious arguments. 

The Good-natured. — What is it that distinguishes 
the good-natured, whose countenances beam kind- 
ness, from other people ? They feel quite at ease 
in presence of a new person, and are quickly 
enamoured of him ; they therefore wish him well ; 
their first opinion is: "He pleases me." With 
them there follow in succession the wish to 
appropriate (they make little scruple about the 
person's worth), rapid appropriation, joy in the 
possession, and actions in favour of the person 



Kanfs Joke. — Kant tried to prove, in a way that 
dismayed "everybody," that " everybody " was in 
the right : — that was his secret joke. He wrote 
against the learned, in favour of popular prejudice ; 
he wrote, however, for the learned and not for the 


The " Open-hearted^^ Man. — That man acts prob- 
ably always from concealed motives ; for he has 
always communicable motives on his tongue, and 
almost in his open hand. 

Laughable! — See! See! He runs away from 
men — : they follow him, however, because he runs 
before them, — they are such a gregarious lot I 


The Limits of our Sense of Hearing. — We hear 
only the questions to which we are capable of finding 
an answer. 

Caution therefore! — There is nothing we are 
fonder of communicating to others than the seal 
of secrecy — together with what is under it. 


Vexation of the Proud Man. — The proud man is 
vexed even with those who help him forward : he 
looks angrily at his carriage-horses 


Liberality. — Liberality is often only a form of 
timidity in the rich. 

Laughing. — To laugh means to love mischief, 
but with a good conscience. 

In Applause. — In applause there is always some 
kind of noise : even in self-applause. 

A Spendthrift— Yi^ has not yet the poverty of 
the rich man who has counted all his treasure, — he 
squanders his spirit with the irrationalness of the 
spendthrift Nature. 

Hie niger est. — Usually he has no thoughts, — but 
in exceptional cases bad thoughts come to him. 


Beggars and Courtesy. — " One is not discourteous 
when one knocks at a door with a stone when the 
bell-pull is awanting"— so think all beggars and 
necessitous persons, but no one thinks they are in 
the right. 


;V7"^^^.— Need is supposed to be the cause of 
things ; but in truth it is often only the result of 



During the Rain. — It rains, and I think of the 
poor people who now crowd together with their 
many cares, which they are unaccustomed to con- 
ceal ; all of them, therefore, ready and anxious to 
give pain to one another, and thus provide them- 
selves with a pitiable kind of comfort, even in bad 
weather. This, this only, is the poverty of the 


The Envious Man. — That is an envious man — 
it is not desirable that he should have children ; 
he would be envious of them, because he can no 
longer be a child. 


A Great Man ! — Because a person is " a great 
man," we are not authorised to infer that he is a 
man. Perhaps he is only a boy, or a chameleon 
of all ages, or a bewitched girl. 


A Mode of Asking for Reasons. — There is a mode 
of asking for our reasons which not only makes us 
forget our best reasons, but also arouses in us a 
spite and repugnance against reason generally : — 
a very stupefying mode of questioning, and really 
an artifice of tyrannical men ! 


Moderation in Diligence. — One must not be 

anxious to surpass the diligence of one's father — 
that would make one ill. 



Secret Enemies. — To be able to keep a secret 
enemy — that is a luxury which the morality even 
of the highest-minded persons can rarely afford. 


Not Letting oneself be Deluded. — His spirit has 
bad manners, it is hasty and always stutters with 
impatience ; so that one would hardly suspect the 
deep breathing and the large chest of the soul in 
which it resides. 


The Way to Happijiess. — A sage asked of a fool 
the way to happiness. The fool answered without 
delay, like one who had been asked the way to the 
next town : " Admire yourself, and live on the 
street ! " " Hold," cried the sage, " you require too 
much; it suffices to admire oneself!" The fool 
replied : " But how can one constantly admire 
without constantly despising ? " 


Faith Saves. — Virtue gives happiness and a state 
of blessedness only to those who have a strong 
faith in their virtue : — not, however, to the more 
refined souls whose virtue consists of a profound 
distrust of themselves and of all virtue. After all, 
therefore, it is " faith that saves " here also ! — and 
be it well observed, not virtue ! 


The Ideal and the Material. — You have a noble 
ideal before your eyes : but are you also such a 
noble stone that such a divine image could be 
formed out of you ? And without that — is not all 
your labour barbaric sculpturing? A blasphemy 
of your ideal ? 


Danger in the Voice. — With a very loud voice 
a person is almost incapable of reflecting on 
subtle matters. 


Cause and Ej^ect. — Before the effect one believes 
in other causes than after the effect. 


My Antipathy. — I do not like those people who, 
in order to produce an effect, have to burst like 
bombs, and in whose neighbourhood one is always 
in danger of suddenly losing one's hearing — or 
even something more. 


The Object of Punishment. — The object of punish- 
ment is to improve him who punishes, — that is the 
ultimate appeal of those who justify punishment. 


Sacrifice. — The victims think otherwise than the 
spectators about sacrifice and sacrificing : but they 
have never been allowed to express their opinion. 



Consideration. — Fathers and sons are much more 
considerate of one another than mothers and 


Poet and Liar. — The poet sees in the liar his 
foster-brother whose milk he has drunk up ; the 
latter has thus remained wretched, and has not 
even attained to a good conscience. 


Vicariousness of the Senses. — "We have also eyes 
in order to hear with them," — said an old confessor 
who had grown deaf; "and among the blind he 
that has the longest ears is king." 


Animal Criticism. — I fear the animals regard 
man as a being like themselves, seriously endan- 
gered by the loss of sound animal understand- 
ing ; — they regard him perhaps as the absurd 
animal, the laughing animal, the crying animal, 
the unfortunate animal. 


The Natural. — " Evil has always had the great 
effect ! And Nature is evil ! Let us therefore be 
natural ! " — so reason secretly the great aspirants 
after effect, who are too often counted among great 



The Distrustful and their Style. — We say the 
strongest things simply, provided people are about 
us who believe in our strength : — such an environ- 
ment educates to "simplicity of style." The 
distrustful, on the other hand, speak emphatically ; 
they make things emphatic. 


Fallacy^ Fallacy. — He cannot rule himself ; 
therefore that woman concludes that it will be 
easy to rule him, and throws out her lines to 
catch him ; — the poor creature, who in a short 
time will be his slave. 


Against Mediators. — He who attempts to mediate 
between two decided thinkers is rightly called 
mediocre : he has not an eye for seeing the unique ; 
similarising and equalising are signs of weak eyes. 


Obstinacy and Loyalty. — Out of obstinacy he 
holds fast to a cause of which the questionableness 
has become obvious, — he calls that, however, his 
" loyalty." 


Lack of Reserve. — His whole nature fails to 
convince — that results from the fact that he has 
never been reticent about a good action he has 



The " Plodders^ — Persons slow of apprehension 
think that slowness forms part of knowledge. 


Dreaming. — Either one does not dream at all, 
or one dreams in an interesting manner. One 
must learn to be awake in the same fashion : — 
either not at all, or in an interesting manner. 

The most Dangerous Point of View. — What I 
now do, or neglect to do, is as important y^;' all 
that is to come, as the greatest event of the past : 
in this immense perspective of effects all actions 
are equally great and small. 


Consolatory Words of a Musician. — "Your life 
does not sound into people's ears : for them you 
live a dumb life, and all refinements of melody, 
all fond resolutions in following or leading the 
way, are concealed from them. To be sure you do 
not parade the thoroughfares with regimental 
music, — but these good people have no right to 
say on that account that your life is lacking in 
music. He that hath ears let him hear." 

Spirit and Character. — Many a one attains his 
full height of character, but his spirit is not adapted 
to the elevation, — and many a one reversely. 



To Move the Multitude. — Is it not necessary for 
him who wants to move the multitude to give a 
stage representation of himself? Has he not first 
to translate himself into the grotesquely obvious, 
and then set forth his whole personality and cause 
in that vulgarised and simplified fashion ? 

The Polite Man. — "He is so polite!" — Yes, he 
has always a sop for Cerberus with him, and is 
so timid that he takes everybody for Cerberus, 
even you and me, — that is his " politeness." 


Without Envy. — He is wholly without envy, but 
there is no merit therein : for he wants to conquer 
a land which no one has yet possessed and hardly 
any one has even seen. 

The Joyless Person. — A single joyless person 
is enough to make constant displeasure and a 
clouded heaven in a household ; and it is only 
by a miracle that such a person is lacking! — 
Happiness is not nearly such a contagious disease ; 
— how is that ? 


On the Sea-Shore. — I would not build myselr a 
house (it is an element of my happiness not to be 
a house-owner !). If I had to do so, however, I 
should build it, like many of the Romans, right 


into the sea, — I should like to have some secrets 
in common with that beautiful monster. 


Work and Artist. — This artist is ambitious and 
nothing more; ultimately, however, his work is 
only a magnifying-glass, which he offers to every 
one who looks in his direction. 


Suum cuique. — However great be my greed of 
knowledge, I cannot appropriate aught of things 
but what already belongs to me, — the property of 
others still remains in the things. How is it 
possible for a man to be a thief or a robber ? 

Origin of ''Good'' and " Bad."— He only will 
devise an improvement who can feel that " this is 
not good." 


Thoughts and Words. — Even our thoughts we 
are unable to render completely in words. 

Praise in Choice. — The artist chooses his subjects ; 
that is his mode of praising. 


Mathematics. — We want to carry the refinement 
and rigour of mathematics into all the sciences, as 
far as it is in any way possible, not in the belief that 


we shall apprehend things in this way, but in order 
thereby to assert our human relation to things. 
Mathematics is only a means to general and 
ultimate human knowledge. 

Habits. — All habits m^ke our hand wittier and 
our wit unhandier. 


Books. — Of what account is a book that never 
carries us away beyond all books ? 

vay bs] 


The Sigh of the Seeker of Knowledge. — " Oh, my 
covetousness ! In this soul there is no disinterested- 
ness — but an all-desiring self, which, by means of 
many individuals, would fain see as with its own 
eyes, and grasp as with its own hands — a self 
bringing back even the entire past, and wanting 
to lose nothing that could in any way belong to it! 
Oh, this flame of my covetousness ! Oh, that I 
were reincarnated in a hundred individuals ! " — He 
who does not know this sigh by experience, does 
not know the passion of the seeker of knowledge 


Guilt. — Although the most intelligent judges ot 
the witches, and even the witches themselves, were 
convinced of the guilt of witchcraft, the guilt, 
nevertheless, was not there. So it is with all 



Misunderstood Sufferers. — Great natures suffer 
otherwise than their worshippers imagine; they 
suffer most severely from the ignoble, petty emo- 
tions of certain evil moments ; in short, from doubt 
of their own greatness ; — not however from the 
sacrifices and martyrdoms which their tasks require 
of them. As long as Prometheus sympathises 
with men and sacrifices himself for them, he is 
happy and proud in himself; but on becoming 
envious of Zeus and of the homage which mortals 
pay him — then Prometheus suffers ! 

Better to be in Debt. — " Better to remain in debt 
than to pay with money which does not bear our 
stamp ! " — that is what our sovereignty prefers. 


Always at Home. — One day we attain our goal — 
and then refer with pride to the long journeys we 
have made to reach it. In truth, we did not notice 
that we travelled. We got into the habit of think- 
ing that we were at home in every place. 

Against Embarrassment. — He who is always 
thoroughly occupied is rid of all embarrassment. 


Imitators. — A : " What ? You don't want to have 
imitators ? " B : " I don't want people to do any- 


thing after me ; I want every one to do something 
before himself (as a pattern to himself)— just as / 
do." A: "Consequently—?" 

Skinniness. — All profound men have their happi- 
ness in imitating the flying-fish at times, and 
playing on the crests of the waves ; they think 
that what is best of all in things is their surface : 
their skinniness — sit venia verbo. 

From Experience. — A person often does not know 
how rich he is, until he learns from experience what 
rich men even play the thief on him. 

The Deniers of Chance. — No conqueror believes 
in chance. 

From Paradise. — "Good and Evil are God's 
prejudices " — said the serpent. 

One times One. — One only is always in the wrong, 
but with two truth begins. — One only cannot 
prove himself right ; but two are already beyond 

Originality. — What is originality ? To see some- 
thing that does not yet bear a name, that cannot 
yet be named, although it is before everybody's 


eyes. As people are usually constituted, it is the 
name that first makes a thing generally visible to 
them. — Original persons have also for the most 
part been the namers of things. 


Sub specie aeterni. — A : " You withdraw faster 
and faster from the living; they will soon strike 
you out of their lists ! " — B : " It is the only way 
to participate in the privilege of the dead." A : 
" In what privilege ? " — B : " No longer having to 


Without Vanity. — When we love we want our 
defects to remain concealed, — not out of vanity, but 
lest the person loved should suffer therefrom. 
Indeed, the lover would like to appear as a God, — 
and not out of vanity either. 


What we Do. — What we do is never understood, 
but only praised and blamed. 


Ultimate Scepticism. — But what after all are 
man's truths ? — They are his irrefutable errors. 


Where Cruelty is Necessary. — He who is great is 
cruel to his second-rate virtues and judgments. 


With a high Aiin.—W\t\i a high aim a person 
is superior even to justice, and not only to his 
deeds and his judges. 

What makes Heroic?— To face simultaneously 
one's greatest suffering and one's highest hope. 

What dost thou Believe in ?— In this : That the 
weights of all things must be determined anew. 


WhatSaith thy Conscience ?—'' Thou shalt become 
what thou art." 


Where are thy Greatest Dangers ?— In pity. 

What dost thou Love in others P— My hopes. 

Whom dost thou call Bad P— Him who always 
wants to put others to shame. 


What dost thou think most humane ?~To spare 
a person shame. 


What is the Seal of Attained Liberty P— To be 
no longer ashamed of oneself. 



Thou who with cleaving fiery 
The stream of my soul from 
its ice dost free, 
Till with a rush and a roar it 
To enter with glorious hoping 
the sea : 
Brighter to see and purer ever, 
Free in the bonds of thy sweet 
constraint, — 
So it praises thy wondrous en- 
January, thou beauteous saint ! 

Genoa, January 1882. 


For the New Year.~\ still live, I still think ; I 
must still live, for I must still think. Sum, ergo 
cogiio: cogiio, ergo sum. To-day everyone takes 
the liberty of expressing his wish and his favourite 
thought: well, I also mean to tell what I have 
wished for myself to-day, and what thought first 
crossed my mind this year,— a thought which ought 
to be the basis, the pledge and the sweetening of 
all my future life! I want more and more to 
perceive the necessary characters in things as the 
beautiful: — I shall thus be one of those who 
beautify things. Amor fati : let that henceforth 
be my love ! I do not want to wage war with the 
ugly. I do not want to accuse, I do not want even 
to accuse the accusers. Looking aside, let that be 
my sole negation ! And all in all, to sum up : I 
wish to be at any time hereafter only 3 yea-sayer ! 


Personal Providence.—ThQxe is a certain climax 
m life, at which, notwithstanding all our freedom, 
and however much we may have denied all direct- 
mg reason and goodness in the beautiful chaos 
of existence, we are once more in great danger 
of intellectual bondage, and have to face our 



hardest test. For now the thought of a personal 
Providence first presents itself before us with 
its most persuasive force, and has the best of 
advocates, apparentness, in its favour, now when it 
is obvious that all and everything that happens to 
us always turns out for the best. The life of every 
day and of every hour seems to be anxious for 
nothing else but always to prove this proposition 
anew ; let it be what it will, bad or good weather, 
the loss of a friend, a sickness, a calumny, the 
non-receipt of a letter, the spraining of one's 
foot, a glance into a shop-window, a counter- 
argument, the opening of a book, a dream, a 
deception :— it shows itself immediately, or very 
soon afterwards, as something "not permitted to 
be absent,"— it is full of profound significance and 
utility precisely /^^ us ! Is there a more dangerous 
temptation to rid ourselves of the belief in the 
Gods of Epicurus, those careless, unknown Gods, 
and believe in some anxious and mean Divinity, 
who knows personally every little hair on our 
heads, and feels no disgust in rendering the most 
wretched services ? Well— I mean in spite of all 
this! we want to leave the Gods alone (and the 
serviceable genii likewise), and wish to content 
ourselves with the assumption that our own 
practical and theoretical skilfulness in explaining 
and suitably arranging events has now reached its 
highest point. We do not want either to think 
too highly of this dexterity of our wisdom, when 
the wonderful harmony which results from play- 
ing on our instrument sometimes surprises us 
too much : a harmony which sounds too well for 


US to dare to ascribe it to ourselves. In fact, now 
and then there is one who plays with us— beloved 
Chance : he leads our hand occasionally, and even 
the all-wisest Providence could not devise any finer 
music than that of which our foolish hand is then 


The Thought of Death.— \t gives me a melancholy 
happiness to live in the midst of this confusion of 
streets, of necessities, of voices : how much en- 
joyment, impatience and desire, how much thirsty 
life and drunkenness of life comes to light here 
every moment! And yet it will soon be so still 
for all these shouting, lively, life-loving people! 
How everyone's shadow, his gloomy travelling- 
companion stands behind him ! It is always as in 
the last moment before the departure of an emi- 
grant-ship : people have more than ever to say to 
one another, the hour presses, the ocean with its 
lonely silence waits impatiently behind all the 
noise — so greedy, so certain of its prey ! And all, 
all, suppose that the past has been nothing, or a 
small matter, that the near future is everything: 
hence this haste, this crying, this self - deafening 
and self- overreaching! Everyone wants to be 
foremost in this future, — and yet death and the 
stillness of death are the only things certain and 
common to all in this future ! How strange that this 
sole thing that is certain and common to all, exercises 
almost no influence on men, and that they are the 
furthest from regarding themselves as the brother- 
hood of death ! It makes me happy to see that 


men do not want to think at all of the idea of death t 
I would fa,n do something to make the idea of We 
-en a hundred times „.ore .ortky of tttr'l^l 


Stellar Pnendshtp.-SN^ were friends, and have 
become strangers to each other. But this is as ft 
ought to be, and we do not want either to clcea 
or obscure the fact as if we had to be ashamX 

Ind It. r *'P'' "^* "^"•'■■^h has its goal 

and .ts course; we may, to be sure, cross one 
another m our paths, and celebrate a feast toLh^r 

ruiltlv in'o^'T;:"' "'^" *^ galla^sh^f £' 
ftat It n,°h. \"''°"'^"d in one sunshine, so 
that It might have been thought thev were 

tTZtTr^'r" "'^' «>^' had ifad^;: 

fo°ced us In^T ' "■"•^'"y ^'^^"S'h of our tasks 
into riiff' ^T °"'^ "'°'^ '"'° ''■■ff^'-^"' =eas and 

ee one Totr""' '"^ P'=^'''P^ "^ =hall never 
see one another agam,_or perhaps we may see 
one another, but not know one anoLr agSn"^ ^e 
different seas and suns have altered us! That vve 

to wtvh""'"' ''''"'''' '° ""'' -°'her is t': law 
to which we are suijecl: just by that shall we 
become more sacred to one another! Just Z 
that shall the thought of our former fr/endship 

"%„Tgoals"'s;'tMer'd-ff''" '^■^'^ °" 

tTsh°or r '° ^'^ "^°"^'"-' But our life i 
too short, and our power of vision too limited for 


US to be more than friends in the sense of that 
sublime possibility. — And so we will believe in our 
stellar friendship, though we should have to be 
terrestrial enemies to one another. 


Architecture for Thinkers. — An insight is needed 
(and that probably very soon) as to what is specially 
lacking in our great cities — namely, quiet, spacious, 
and widely extended places for reflection, places with 
long, lofty colonnades for bad weather, or for too 
sunny days, where no noise of wagons or of shouters 
would penetrate, and where a more refined propriety 
would prohibit loud praying even to the priest : 
buildings and situations which as a whole would 
express the sublimity of self-communion and 
seclusion from the world. The time is past when 
the Church possessed the monopoly of reflection, 
when the vita contemplativa had always in the first 
place to be the vita religiosa : and everything that 
the Church has built expresses this thought. I 
know not how we could content ourselves with 
their structures, even if they should be divested 
of their ecclesiastical purposes : these structures 
speak a far too pathetic and too biassed speech, as 
houses of God and places of splendour for super- 
natural intercourse, for us godless ones to be able 
to think our thoughts in them. We want to have 
ourselves translated into stone and plant, we want 
to go for a walk in ourselves when we wander in 
these halls and gardens. 


Knowing how to Find the ^«^. -Masters of the 
first rank are recognised by knowing in a perfect 
manner how to find the end, in the whole as well 
as in the part ; be it the end of a melody or of a 
thought, be it the fifth act of a tragedy or of a state 
affair. The masters of the second degree always 
become restless towards the end, and seldom dip 
down into the sea with such proud, quiet equilibrium 
as, for example, the mountain-ridge at Porto fino— 
where the Bay of Genoa sings its melody to an end. 

The Gait.~-T\iQXQ are mannerisms of the intellect 
by which even great minds betray that they 
originate from the populace, or from the semi- 
populace :-it is principally the gait and step 
of their thoughts which betray them ; they cannot 
walk. It was thus that even Napoleon, to his 
profound chagrin, could not walk "legitimately" 
and in princely fashion on occasions when it was 
necessary to do so properly, as in great coronation 
processions and on similar occasions : even there he 
was always just the leader of a column— proud and 
brusque at the same time, and very self-conscious 
of it all.— It is something laughable to see those 
writers who make the folding robes of their periods 
rustle around them : they want to cover their >^^. 

Pioneers.~\ greet all the signs indicating that a 
more manly and wariike age is commencing, which 
will, above all, bring heroism again into honour ! 


For it has to prepare the way for a yet higher age, 
and gather the force which the latter will one day 
require, — the age which will carry heroism into know- 
ledge, and wage war for the sake of ideas and their 
consequences. For that end many brave pioneers 
are now needed, who, however, cannot originate out 
of nothing,— and just as little out of the sand and 
slime of present-day civilisation and the culture of 
great cities : men silent, solitary and resolute, who 
know how to be content and persistent in invisible 
activity: men who with innate disposition seek in all 
things that which is to be overcome in them : men to 
whom cheerfulness, patience, simplicity, and con- 
tempt of the great vanities belong just as much as 
do magnanimity in victory and indulgence to the 
trivial vanities of all the vanquished : men with 
an acute and independent judgment regarding all 
victors, and concerning the part which chance has 
played in the winning of victory and fame : men 
with their own holidays, their own work-days, and 
their own periods of mourning; accustomed to 
command with perfect assurance, and equally ready, 
if need be, to obey, proud in the one case as in the 
other, equally serving their own interests: men 
more imperilled, more productive, more happy ! 
For believe me !— the secret of realising the largest 
productivity and the greatest enjoyment of existence 
is to live in danger ! Build your cities on the slope 
of Vesuvius! Send your ships into unexplored 
seas ! Live in war with your equals and with 
yourselves ! Be robbers and spoilers, ye know- 
ing ones, as long as ye cannot be rulers and 
possessors! The time will soon pass when you 


can be satisfied to live like timorous deer concealed 
in the forests. Knowledge will finally stretch out 
her hand for that which belongs to her : — she means 
to rule and possess^ and you with her ! 

Belief in Oneself. — In general, few men have 
belief in themselves : — and of those few some are 
endowed with it as a useful blindness or partial 
obscuration of intellect (what would they perceive 
if they could see to the bottom of themselves!'). 
The others must first acquire the belief for them- 
selves : everything good, clever, or great that they 
do, is first of all an argument against the sceptic 
that dwells in them : the question is how to con- 
vince or persuade this sceptic, and for that purpose 
genius almost is needed. They are signally dis- 
satisfied with themselves. 

Excelsior ! — " Thou wilt never more pray, never 
more worship, never more repose in infinite trust — 
thou refusest to stand still and dismiss thy thoughts 
before an ultimate wisdom, an ultimate virtue, an 
ultimate power, — thou hast no constant guardian 
and friend in thy seven solitudes — thou livest 
without the outlook on a mountain that has snow ' 
on its head and fire in its heart — there is no 
longer any requiter for thee, nor any amender with 
his finishing touch — there is no longer any reason 
in that which happens, or any love in that which 
will happen to thee — there is no longer any resting- 
place for thy weary heart, where it has only to find 


and no longer to seek, thou art opposed to any kind 
of ultimate peace, thou desirest the eternal re cur-^ 
fence of war and peace:— man of renunciation, 
wilt thou renounce in all these things? Who 
will give thee the strength to do so ? No one has 
yet had this strength ! " — There is a lake which one 
day refused to flow away, and threw up a dam at 
the place where it had hitherto discharged : since 
then this lake has always risen higher and higher. 
Perhaps the very renunciation will also furnish us 
with the strength with which the renunciation itself 
can be borne; perhaps man will ever rise higher 
and higher from that point onward, when he no 
longer ^ows out into a God. 


A Digression. — Here are hopes ; but what will 
you see and hear of them, if you have not experi- 
enced glance and glow and dawn of day in your 
own souls ? I can only suggest — I cannot do more ! 
To move the stones, to make animals men — would 
you have me do that ? Alas, if you are yet stones 
and animals, you must seek your Orpheus ! 


Love of Blindness. — " My thoughts," said the 
wanderer to his shadow, " ought to show me where 
I stand, but they should not betray to me whither I 
go. I love ignorance of the future, and do not 
want to come to grief by impatience and antici- 
patory tasting of promised things." 



Lofty Moods. — It seems to me that most men do 
not believe in lofty moods, unless it be for the 
moment, or at the most for a quarter of an hour, — 
except the few who know by experience a longer 
duration of high feeling. But to be absolutely 
a man with a single lofty feeling, the incarnation of 
a single lofty mood — that has hitherto been only a 
dream and an enchanting possibility : history does 
not yet give us any trustworthy example of it. 
Nevertheless one might also some day produce 
such men — when a multitude of favourable condi- 
tions have been created and established, which 
at present even the happiest chance is unable to 
throw together. Perhaps that very state which has 
hitherto entered into our soul as an exception, felt 
with horror now and then, may be the usual con- 
dition of those future souls : a continuous movement 
between high and low, and the feeling of high and 
low, a constant state of mounting as on steps, and 
at the same time reposing as on clouds. 


Aboard Ship ! — When one considers how a full 
philosophical justification of his mode of living 
and thinking operates upon every individual — 
namely, as a warming, blessing, and fructifying 
sun, specially shining on him ; how it makes him 
independent of praise and blame, self-sufficient, 
rich and generous in the bestowal of happiness 
and kindness ; how it unceasingly transforms the 
evil to the good, brings all the energies to bloom 


and maturity, and altogether hinders the growth 
of the greater and lesser weeds of chagrin and dis- 
content :— one at last cries out importunately : Oh, 
that many such new suns were created ! The evil 
man, also, the unfortunate man, and the excep- 
tional man, shall each have his philosophy, his 
rights, and his sunshine ! It is not sympathy with 
them that is necessary ! — we must unlearn this 
arrogant fancy, notwithstanding that humanity 
has so long learned it and used it exclusively, — we 
have not to set up any confessor, exorcist, or 
pardoner for them ! It is a new justice, however, 
that is necessary ! And a new solution ! And 
new philosophers ! The moral earth also is round ! 
The moral earth also has its antipodes ! The anti- 
podes also have their right to exist! there is 
still another world to discover — and more than 
one ! Aboard ship ! ye philosophers ! 


One Thing is Needful.— To " give style " to one's 
character — that is a grand and a rare art! He 
who surveys all that his nature presents in its 
strength and in its weakness, and then fashions it 
into an ingenious plan, until everything appears 
artistic and rational, and even the weaknesses 
enchant the eye — exercises that admirable art. 
Here there has been a great amount of second 
nature added, there a portion of first nature has 
been taken away : — in both cases with long exer- 
cise and daily labour at the task. Here the ugly, 
which does not permit of being taken away, has 
been concealed, there it has been re-interpreted 


into the sublime. Much of the vague, which re- 
fuses to take form, has been reserved and utilised 
for the perspectives : — it is meant to give a hint 
of the remote and immeasurable. In the end, 
when the work has been completed, it is revealed 
how it was the constraint of the same taste that 
organised and fashioned it in whole and in part : 
whether the taste was good or bad is of less 
importance than one thinks, — it is sufficient that 
it was a taste! — It will be the strong imperious 
natures which experience their most refined joy 
in such constraint, in such confinement and per- 
fection under their own law ; the passion of their 
violent volition lessens at the sight of all disciplined 
nature, all conquered and ministering nature : even 
when they have palaces to build and gardens to 
lay out, it is not to their taste to allow nature to 
be free. — It is the reverse with weak characters 
who have not power over themselves, and hate 
the restriction of style: they feel that if this 
repugnant constraint were laid upon them, they 
would necessarily become vulgarised under it : 
they become slaves as soon as they serve, they 
hate service. Such intellects — they may be intel- 
lects of the first rank — are always concerned with 
fashioning and interpreting themselves and their 
surroundings zs free nature— wild, arbitrary, fan- 
tastic, confused and surprising : and it is well for 
them to do so, because only in this manner can 
they please themselves ! For one thing is needful : 
namely, that man should attain to satisfaction with 
himself— be it but through this or that fable and 
artifice : it is only then that man's aspect \s at all 


endurable ! He who is dissatisfied with himself is 
ever ready to avenge himself on that account : we 
others will be his victims, if only in having always 
to endure his ugly aspect. For the aspect of the 
ugly makes one mean and sad. 


Genoa. — I have looked upon this city, its villas 
and pleasure-grounds, and the wide circuit of its 
inhabited heights and slopes, for a considerable 
time : in the end I must say that I see countenances 
out of past generations, — this district is strewn with 
the images of bold and autocratic men. They have 
lived and have wanted to live on — they say so 
with their houses, built and decorated for centuries, 
and not for the passing hour : they were well 
disposed to life, however ill-disposed they may 
often have been towards themselves. I always see 
the builder, how he casts his eye on all that is 
built around him far and near, and likewise on 
the city, the sea, and the chain of mountains ; how 
he expresses power and conquest with his gaze : 
all this he wishes to fit into his plan, and in the 
end make it his property^ by its becoming a 
portion of the same. The whole district is over- 
grown with this superb, insatiable egoism of the 
desire to possess and exploit ; and as these men 
when abroad recognised no frontiers, and in their 
thirst for the new placed a new world beside the 
old, so also at home everyone rose up against 
everyone else, and devised some mode of expressing 
his superiority, and of placing between himself and 
his neighbour his personal illimitableness. Everyone 


won for himself his home once more by over- 
powermg .t with his architectural though Ind 

rfce wr'"^ " '"'°. ^ '^^"S'^'f"' -ght for ht 
race. Wlien we consider the mode of building. m the north, the law, and the gene al deulf 

" 'T'"? ""^ °'"='^''^"=«. ™P°^e upon us we 
thereby divine the propensity to equality aL 
submission which must have ruled in those bSl/e^' 

am!' kT"'' T '"'■"'■"g ^^^^y '=°™«f you find 
a man by himself, who knows the sea. knows ad 
venture, and knows the Orient a man „,h^: 
to lau, -„j » . , , ^""^n^' a man who is averse 
haviTo H^ t° ne-ghbour. as if it bored him to 
have to do with them, a man who scans all that 
IS aJready old and established with envious glances 
with a wonderful craftiness of fantasy, he^woutd 
.ke, at east in thought, to establish I thlslnew 

afternlTn h '' ?' '^' P'^''"^ •">" of a sunny 
afternoon when for once his insatiable and melan- 

ot:.''::^ f^^^^-tiety, and when only whatTs hi 
hfeeye "^ ^"^ ""^"^'- ""^ ''">'' "^^'f 'o 
7> M« /'^^a,,.^^^^ ofUorality.-l do not mean 
to moralise, but to those who do. I would le tWs 
advice : .f you mean ultimately to deprive the be 
««J^s and the best conditions of all honou td 
worth, continue to speak of them in the same 
way as heretofore ! Put them at the head of yo"r 
morality, and speak from morning till night of X 

ness and of reward and punishment in the nature 
of things : according as you go on in this manned 


all these good things will finally acquire a popu- 
larity and a street-cry for themselves : but then 
all the gold on them will also be worn off, and 
more besides : all the gold in them will have 
changed into lead. Truly, you understand the 
reverse art of alchemy, the depreciating of the 
most valuable things ! Try, just for once, another 
recipe, in order not to realise as hitherto the 
opposite of what you mean to attain : deny those 
good things, withdraw from them the applause of 
the populace and discourage the spread of them, 
make them once more the concealed chastities of 
solitary souls, and say : morality is something for- 
bidden! Perhaps you will thus attract to your 
cause the sort of men who are only of any ac- 
count, I mean the heroic. But then there must be 
something formidable in it, and not as hitherto 
something disgusting! Might one not be in- 
clined to say at present with reference to morality 
what Master Eckardt says : " I pray God to deliver 
me from God ! " 

Our Atmosphere. — We know it well : in him who 
only casts a glance now and then at science, as 
when taking a walk (in the manner of women, and 
alas ! also like many artists), the strictness in its 
service, its inexorability in small matters as well 
as in great, its rapidity in weighing, judging and 
condemning, produce something of a feeling of 
giddiness and fright. It is especially terriiying to 
him that the hardest is here demanded, that the 
best is done without the reward of praise or dis- 
tinction ; it is rather as among soldiers — almost 


nothing but blame and sharp reprimand is heard ■ 
for doing wel prevails here as the rule, doing ill 
as the exception ; the rule, however, ha^, here as 
everywhere a silent tongue. It is the same with 
ths" severity of science" as with the manners and 

unlSd °'„*; '"' ^°^'^'^^ ■■' frightens the 
unm.tiated He, however, who is accustomed to it 
does not hke to live anywhere but in this clea 
tonsparent powerful, and highly electrified at-' 
mosphere, th.s manly atmosphere. Anywhere else 
IZ M ""T ^""^ ^Ty enough for him : he suspects 
that there h.s best art would neither be properly 
advantageous to anyone else, nor a deHgh"^ o 
h|mself, that through misunderstandings half of 

fore ,vltT h^"" *T^'> "''^ ''"^-•'••-' --h 
lonstandvT ^°"^^^'™^"t ^"^ reticence would 
constantly be necessary.—nothing but great and 
useless losses of power! I„ ,^,/keen Ind clear 

cinTv ■ ^Zri "^j'f •"■= ^""- P°-- here he 
can fly ! Why should he again go down into those 
muddy waters where he has to swim and wade and 

o, h.s wmgs!_No! There it is too hard for us 
to hve ! we cannot help it that we are born for the 
atmosphere the pure atmosphere, we rivals of the 

ay of hght ; and that we should like best to r de 

un C r "T\ °' ^"'^^' "°' *™y fro" he 
cannot do "" """ T"'^'' however, we 

cannot do:_so we want to do the only thing that 
IS m our power : namely, to bring light to the earth 
we want to be « the light of theVrth ! ° ITt 
that purpose we have our wings and our swiftness 
and our seventy, on that account we are manly and 
even ternble like the fire. Let those fear us^who 


do not know how to warm and brighten themselves 
by our influence ! 


Against the Disparagers of Nature. — They are 
disagreeable to me, those men in whom every 
natural inclination forthwith becomes a disease, 
something disfiguring, or even disgraceful. They 
have seduced us to the opinion that the inclinations 
and impulses of men are evil ; they are the cause 
of our great injustice to our own nature, and to all 
nature ! There are enough of men who may yield 
to their impulses gracefully and carelessly : but 
they do not do so, for fear of that imaginary " evil 
thing " in nature ! That is the cause why there is 
so little nobility to be found among men : the 
indication of which will always be to have no fear 
of oneself, to expect nothing disgraceful from 
oneself, to fly without hesitation whithersoever we 
are impelled — we free-born birds ! Wherever we 
come, there will always be freedom and sunshine 
around us, , / / f{ 

295. / 1 ' ^ytjummA^ 

Short-lived Habits. — I love short-lived habits, ,|]si-7^ 
and regard them as an invaluable means for «h)1^(''**^. 
getting a knowledge of many things and various AL-^/La) 
conditions, to the very bottom of their sweetness ' ' 
and bitterness ; my nature is altogether arranged 
for short-lived habits, even in the needs of its 
bodily health, and in general, as far as I can see, 
from the lowest up to the highest matters, I 
always think that this will at last satisfy me 
permanently (the short-lived habit has also this 



characteristic belief of passion, the belief in ever- 
lasting duration ; I am to be envied for having 
found it and recognised it), and then it nourishes 
me at noon and at eve, and spreads a profound 
satisfaction around me and in me, so that I have 
no longing for anything else, not needing to 
compare, or despise, or hate. But one day the 
habit has had its time : the good thing separates 
from me, not as something which then inspires 
disgust in me — but peaceably, and as though satis- 
fied with me, as I am with it ; as if we had to be 
mutually thankful, and thus shook hands for 
farewell. And already the new habit waits at the 
door, and similarly also my belief — indestructible 
fool and sage that I am ! — that this new habit will 
be the right one, the ultimate right one. So it is 
with me as regards foods, thoughts, men, cities, 
poems, music, doctrines, arrangements of the day, 
and modes of life. — On the other hand, I hate 
1)ermanent habits, and feel as if a tyrant came 
into my neighbourhood, and as if my life's breath 
condensed, when events take such a form that per- 
manent habits seem necessarily to grow out of them : 
for example, through an official position, through 
constant companionship with the same persons, 
through a settled abode, or through a uniform state 
of health. Indeed, from the bottom of my soul I 
am gratefully disposed to all my misery and sick- 
ness, and to whatever is imperfect in me, because such 
things leave me a hundred back-doors through which 
I can escape from permanent habits. The most 
unendurable thing, to be sure, the really terrible 
thing, would be a life without habits, a life which 


continually required improvisation : — that would 
be my banishment and my Siberia. 

A Fixed Reputation. — A fixed reputation was 
formerly a matter of the very greatest utility ; and 
wherever society continues to be ruled by the 
herd - instinct, it is still most suitable for every 
individual to give to his character and business 
the appearance of unalterableness, — even when they 
are not so in reality. " One can rely on him, he 
remains the same" — that is the praise which has 
most significance in all dangerous conditions of 
society. Society feels with satisfaction that it 
has a reliable tool ready at all times in the 
virtue of this one, in the ambition of that one, and 
in the reflection and passion of a third one, — it 
honours this tool-like nature^ this self-constancy, 
this unchangeableness in opinions, efforts, and 
even in faults, with the highest honours. Such 
a valuation, which prevails and has prevailed 
everywhere simultaneously with the morality of 
custom, educates "characters," and brings all 
changing, re-learning, and self- transforming into 
disrepute. Be the advantage of this mode of 
thinking ever so great otherwise, it is in any case 
the mode of judging which is most injurious to 
knowledge: for precisely the good- will of the know- 
ing one ever to declare himself unhesitatingly as 
opposed to his former opinions, and in general to 
be distrustful of all that wants to be fixed in him 
— is here condemned and brought into disrepute. 
The disposition of the thinker, as incompatible with 


a " fixed reputation," is regarded as dishonourable, 
while the petrifaction of opinions has all the honour 
to itself: — we have at present still to live under the 
interdict of such rules ! How difficult it is to live 
when one feels that the judgment of many millen- 
niums is around one and against one. It is prob- 
able that for many millenniums knowledge was 
afflicted with a bad conscience, and there must 
have been much self-contempt and secret misery in 
the history of the greatest intellects. 


Ability to Contradict. — Everyone knows at present 
that the ability to endure contradiction is a good 
indication of culture. Some people even know 
that the higher man courts opposition, and provokes 
it, so as to get a cue to his hitherto unknown parti- 
ality. But the ability to contradict, the attainment 
of a good conscience in hostility to the accustomed, 
the traditional and the hallowed, — that is more than 
both the above-named abilities, and is the really 
great, new and astonishing thing in our culture, the 
step of all steps of the emancipated intellect ; who 
knows that ? — 


A Sigh. — I caught this notion on the way, and 
rapidly took the readiest, poor words to hold it 
fast, so that it might not again fly away. But it 
has died in these dry words, and hangs and flaps 
about in them — and now I hardly know, when I 
look upon it, how I could have had such happiness 
when I caught this bird. 



What one should Learn from Artists. — What 
means have we for making things beautiful, at- 
tractive, and desirable, when they are not so? — 
and I suppose they are never so in themselves ! 
We have here something to learn from physicians, 
when, for example, they dilute what is bitter, or 
put wine and sugar into their mixing-bowl ; but we 
have still more to learn from artists, who in fact, 
are continually concerned in devising such in- 
ventions and artifices. To withdraw from things 
until one no longer sees much of them, until one 
has even to see things into them, in order to see 
them at all — or to view them from the side, and 
as in a frame — or to place them so that they 
partly disguise themselves and only permit of 
perspective views — or to look at them through 
coloured glasses, or in the light of the sunset — or 
to furnish them with a surface or skin which is not 
fully transparent: we should learn all this from 
artists, and moreover be wiser than they. For 
this fine power of theirs usually ceases with them 
where art ceases and life begins ; we, however, want 
to be the poets of our lives, and first of all in the 
smallest and most commonplace matters. 


Prelude to Science. — Do you believe then that 
the sciences would have arisen and grown up if 
the sorcerers, alchemists, astrologers and witches 
had not been their forerunners ; those who, with 
their promisings and foreshadowings, had first to 


create a thirst, a hunger, and a taste for hidden and 
forbidden powers ? Yea, that infinitely more had 
to be promised than could ever be fulfilled, in order 
that something might be fulfilled in the domain of 
knowledge? Perhaps the whole of religion, also, 
may appear to some distant age as an exercise and 
a prelude, in like manner as the prelude and pre- 
paration of science here exhibit themselves, though 
not at all practised and regarded as such. Perhaps 
religion may have been the peculiar means for 
enabling individual men to enjoy but once the 
entire self-satisfaction of a God and all his self- 
redeeming power. Indeed ! — one may ask — would 
man have learned at all to get on the tracks of 
hunger and thirst for himself, and to extract satiety 
and fullness out of himself, without that religious 
schooling and preliminary history? Had Prome- 
theus first to fancy that he had stolen the light, and 
that he did penance for the theft. — in order finally 
to discover that he had created the light, in that he 
had longed for the light, and that not only nmn, but 
also God, had been the work of his hands and the\ 
clay in his hands ? All mere creations of the 
creator? — just as the illusion, the theft, the Caucasus, 
the vulture, and the whole tragic Prometheia of all 
thinkers ? 

Illusion of the Contemplative. — Higher men are 
distinguished from lower, by seeing and hearing 
immensely more, and in a thoughtful manner — and 
it is precisely this that distinguishes man from 
the animal, and the higher animal from the 
lower. The world always becomes fuller for him 


who grows up to the full stature of humanity ; 
there are always more interesting fishing-hooks, 
thrown out to him ; the number of his stimuli is 
continually on the increase, and similarly the 
varieties of his pleasure and pain, — the higher man 
becomes always at the same time happier and 
unhappier. An illusion^ however, is his constant 
accompaniment all along : he thinks he is placed 
as a spectator and auditor before the great 
pantomime and concert of life ; he calls his nature 
a contemplative nature, and thereby overlooks the 
fact that he himself is also a real creator, and 
continuous poet of life, — that he no doubt differs 
greatly from the actor in this drama, the so-called 
practical man, but differs still more from a mere 
onlooker or spectator before the stage. There is 
certainly vis contemplativa^ and re-examination of 
his work peculiar to him as poet, but at the same 
time, and first and foremost, he has the vis creativa, 
which the practical man or doer lacks, whatever 
appearance and current belief may say to the 
contrary. It is we, who think and feel, that 
actually and unceasingly make something which 
did not before exist : the whole eternally increas- 
ing world of valuations, colours, weights, per- 
spectives, gradations, affirmations and negations. 
This composition of ours is continually learnt, 
practised, and translated into flesh and actuality, 
and even into the commonplace, by the so-called 
practical men (our actors, as we have said). What- 
ever has value in the present world, has not it in 
itself, by its nature, — nature is always worthless : — 
but a value was once given to it, bestowed upon it 


and it was we who gave and bestowed ! We only 
have created the world which is of any account 
to man ! — But it is precisely this knowledge that 
we lack, and when we get hold of it for a moment 
we have forgotten it the next : we misunderstand 
our highest power, we contemplative men, and 
estimate ourselves at too low a rate, — we are 
neither d& proud nor as happy as we might be. 

The Danger of the Happiest Ones. — To have fine 
senses and a fine taste; to be accustomed to the 
select and the intellectually best as our proper and 
readiest fare; to be blessed with a strong, bold, 
and daring soul; to go through life with a quiet 
eye and a firm step, ever ready for the worst as for 
a festival, and full of longing for undiscovered 
worlds and seas, men and Gods ; to listen to all 
joyous music, as if there perhaps brave men, 
soldiers and seafarers, took a brief repose and 
enjoyment, and in the profoundest pleasure of the 
moment were overcome with tears and the whole 
purple melancholy of happiness : who would not 
like all this to be his possession, his condition ! It 
was the happiness of Homer ! The condition of 
him who invented the Gods for the Greeks, — nay, 
who invented his Gods for himself! But let us not 
conceal the fact that with this happiness of Homer 
in one's soul, one is more liable to suffering than 
any other creature under the sun ! And only at 
this price do we purchase the most precious pearl 
that the waves of existence have hitherto washed 
ashore 1 As its possessor one always becomes more 


sensitive to pain, and at last too sensitive : a 
little displeasure and loathing sufficed in the end 
to make Homer disgusted with life. He was 
unable to solve a foolish little riddle which some 
young fishers proposed to him ! Yes, the little 
riddles are the dangers of the happiest ones ! — 

Two Happy Ones. — Certainly this man, notwith- 
standing his youth, understands the improvisation 
of life, and astonishes even the acutest observers. 
For it seems that he never makes a mistake, 
although he constantly plays the most hazardous 
games. One is reminded of the improvising masters 
of the musical art, to whom even the listeners 
would fain ascribe a divine infallibility of the 
hand, notwithstanding that they now and then 
make a mistake, as every mortal is liable to do. 
But they are skilled and inventive, and always 
ready in a moment to arrange into the structure 
of the score the most accidental tone (where the 
jerk of a finger or a humour brings it about), and 
to animate the accident with a fine meaning and 
soul. — Here is quite a different man ; everything 
that he intends and plans fails with him in the long 
run. That on which he has now and again set his 
heart has already brought him several times to the 
abyss, and to the very verge of ruin ; and if he has 
as yet got out of the scrape, it certainly has not 
been merely with a "black eye." Do you think 
he is unhappy over it? He resolved long ago 
not to regard his own wishes and plans as of so 
much importance. "If this does not succeed with 


me," he says to himself, " perhaps that will succeed ; 
and on the whole I do not know but that I am 
under more obligation to thank my failures than 
any of my successes. Am I made to be headstrong, 
and to wear the bull's horns? That which con- 
stitutes the worth and the sum of life for me, lies 
somewhere else ; I know more of life, because I 
have been so often on the point of losing it ; and 
just on that account I have more of life than any 
of you!" 


In Doing we Leave Undone. — In the main all 
those moral systems are distasteful to me which say : 
" Do not do this ! Renounce ! Overcome thyself! " 
On the other hand I am favourable to those moral 
systems which stimulate me to do something, and 
to do it again from morning till evening, to dream 
of it at night, and think of nothing else but to 
do it well^ as well as is possible for me alone! 
From him who so lives there fall off one after the 
other the things that do not pertain to such a life : 
without hatred or antipathy, he sees this take leave 
of him to-day, and that to-morrow, like the yellow 
leaves which every livelier breeze strips from the 
tree : or he does not see at all that they take leave 
of him, so firmly is his eye fixed upon his goal, 
and generally forward, not sideways, backward, 
or downward. " Our doing must determine what 
we leave undone ; in that we do, we leave undone " 
— so it pleases me, so runs my placitum. But I 
do not mean to strive with open eyes for my 
impoverishment ; I do not like any of the negative 


virtues whose very essence is negation and self- 

Self-control. — ThosQ moral teachers who first 
and foremost order man to get himself into his 
own power, induce thereby a curious infirmity in 
him, — namely, a constant sensitiveness with refer- 
ence to all natural strivings and inclinations, and 
as it were, a sort of itching. Whatever may hence- 
forth drive him, draw him, allure or impel him, 
whether internally or externally— it always seems 
to this sensitive being as if his self-control were 
in danger: he is no longer at liberty to trust 
himself to any instinct, to any free flight, but 
stands constantly with defensive mien, armed 
against himself, with sharp distrustful eye, the 
eternal watcher of his stronghold, to which office 
he has appointed himself. Yes, he can be great in 
that position ! But how unendurable he has now 
become to others, how difficult even for himself 
to bear, how impoverished and cut off from the 
finest accidents of his soul ! Yea, even from all 
further instruction ! For we must be able to lose 
ourselves at times, if we want to learn something 
of what we have not in ourselves. 


Stoic and Epicurean. — The Epicurean selects the 
situations, the persons, and even the events which 
suit his extremely sensitive, intellectual constitu- 
tion ; he renounces the rest— that is to say, by far 
the greater part of experience — because it would be 


too Strong and too heavy fare for him. The Stoic, 
on the contrary, accustoms himself to swallow 
stones and vermin, glass-splinters and scorpions, 
without feeling any disgust : his stomach is meant 
to become indifferent in the end to all that the 
accidents of existence cast into it: — he reminds 
one of the Arabic sect of the Assaua, with which 
the French became acquainted in Algiers; and 
like those insensible persons, he also likes well 
to have an invited public at the exhibition of his 
insensibility, the very thing the Epicurean willingly 
dispenses with : — he has of course his " garden " ! 
Stoicism may be quite advisable for men with 
whom fate improvises, for those who live in violent 
times and are dependent on abrupt and change- 
able individuals. He, however, who anticipates 
that fate will permit him to spin " a long thread," 
does well to make his arrangements in Epicurean 
fashion ; all men devoted to intellectual labour 
have done it hitherto ! For it would be a supreme 
loss to them to forfeit their fine sensibility, and 
to acquire the hard, stoical hide with hedgehog 
prickles in exchange. 

In Favour of Criticism. — Something now appears 
to thee as an error which thou formerly lovedst as 
a truth, or as a probability : thou pushest it from 
thee and imaginest that thy reason has there 
gained a victory. But perhaps that error was 
then, when thou wast still another person— thou 
art always another person, — ^just as necessary to 
thee as all thy present " truths," like a skin, as it 


were, which concealed and veiled from thee much 
which thou still mayst not see. Thy new life, and 
not thy reason, has slain that opinion for thee: 
thou dost not require it any longer, and now it 
breaks down of its own accord, and the irra- 
tionality crawls out of it as a worm into the 
light. When we make use of criticism it is not 
something arbitrary and impersonal, — it is, at least 
very often, a proof that there are lively, active 
forces in us, which cast a skin. We deny, and 
must deny, because something in us wants to live 
and affirm itself, something which we perhaps do 
not as yet know, do not as yet see ! — So much in 
favour of criticism. 


The History of each Day. — What is it that con- 
stitutes the history of each day for thee ? Look 
at thy habits of which it consists: are they the 
product of numberless little acts of cowardice and 
laziness, or of thy bravery and inventive reason ? 
Although the two cases are so different, it is 
possible that men might bestow the same praise 
upon thee, and that thou mightst also be equally 
useful to them in the one case as in the other. 
But praise and utility and respectability may 
suffice for him whose only desire is to have a good 
conscience, — not however for thee, the " trier of the 
reins," who hast a consciousness of the conscience ! 

Out of the Seventh Solitude. — One day the 
wanderer shut a door behind him, stood still, and 


wept. Then he said: "Oh, this inclination and 
impulse towards the true, the real, the non- 
apparent, the certain! How I detest it! Why 
does this gloomy and passionate taskmaster follow 
just me? I should like to rest, but it does not 
permit me to do so. Are there not a host of things 
seducing me to tarry! Everywhere there are 
gardens of Armida for me, and therefore there will 
ever be fresh separations and fresh bitterness of 
heart! I must set my foot forward, my weary 
wounded foot : and because I feel I must do this, I 
often cast grim glances back at the most beautiful 
things which could not detain me — because they 
could not detain me ! " 

Will and Wave. — How eagerly this wave comes 
hither, as if it were a question of its reaching some- 
thing ! How it creeps with frightful haste into the 
innermost corners of the rocky cliff ! It seems that it 
wants to forestall some one ; it seems that some- 
thing is concealed there that has value, high value. 

And now it retreats somewhat more slowly, still 

quite white with excitement,— is it disappointed? 
Has it found what it sought? Does it merely 
pretend to be disappointed ?— But already another 
wave approaches, still more eager and wild than 
the first, and its soul also seems to be full of secrets, 
and of longing for treasure-seeking. Thus live 
the waves, — thus live we who exercise will ! — I do 
not say more.— But what ! Ye distrust me ? Ye are 
angry at me, ye beautiful monsters ? Do ye fear 
that I will quite betray your secret? Well ! Just 


be angry with me, raise your green, dangerous 
bodies as high as ye can, make a wall between me 
and the sun — as at present ! Verily, there is now 
nothing more left of the world save green twilight 
and green lightning-flashes. Do as ye will, ye 
wanton creatures, roar with delight and wickedness 
— or dive under again, pour your emeralds down 
into the depths, and cast your endless white tresses 
of foam and spray over them — it is all the same to 
me, for all is so well with you, and I am so pleased 
with you for it all : how could I betray you ! For 
— take this to heart ! — I know you and your secret, 
I know your race ! You and I are indeed of one 
race ! You and I have indeed one secret ! 


Broken Lights. — We are not always brave, and 
when we are weary, people of our stamp are 
liable to lament occasionally in this wise : — " It is 
so hard to cause pain to men — oh, that it should 
be necessary ! What good is it to live concealed, 
when we do not want to keep to ourselves that 
which causes vexation? Would it not be more 
advisable to live in the madding crowd, and com- 
pensate individuals for sins that are committed, and 
must be committed, against mankind in general ? 
Foolish with fools, vain with the vain, enthusiastic 
with enthusiasts? Would that not be reasonable 
when there is such an inordinate amount of 
divergence in the main ? When I hear of the 
malignity of others against me — is not my first 
feeling that of satisfaction? It is well that it 
should be so ! — I seem to myself to say to them — 


I am so little in harmony with you, and have so 
much truth on my side : see henceforth that ye be 
merry at my expense as often as ye can ! Here 
are my defects and mistakes, here are my 
illusions, my bad taste, my confusion, my tears, 
my vanity, my owlish concealment, my contradic- 
tions! Here you have something to laugh at! 
Laugh then, and enjoy yourselves! I am not 
averse to the law and nature of things, which is 
that defects and errors should give pleasure !— To 
be sure, there were once ' more glorious ' times, 
when as soon as any one got an idea, however 
moderately new it might be, he would think him- 
self so indispensable as to go out into the street 
with it, and call to everybody: 'Behold! the 
kingdom of heaven is at hand!'— I should not 
miss myself, if I were a-wanting. We are none of 
us indispensable ! "—As we have said, however, we 
do not think thus when we are brave ; we do not 
think about it at all. 


j^y Dog. — I have given a name to my pain, 
and call it "a dog,"— it is just as faithful, just as 
importunate and shameless, just as entertaining, 
just as wise, as any other dog— and I can domineer 
over it, and vent my bad humour on it, as others 
do with their dogs, servants, and wives. 


No Picture of a Martyr.— \ will take my cue 
from Raphael, and not paint any more martyr- 


pictures. There are enough of subh'me things 
without its being necessary to seek sublimity where 
it is linked with cruelty; moreover my ambition 
would not be gratified in the least if I aspired to 
be a sublime executioner. 

New Domestic Animals. — I want to have my 
lion and my eagle about me, that I may always 
have hints and premonitions concerning the amount 
of my strength or weakness. Must I look down on 
them to-day, and be afraid of them? And will 
the hour come once more when they will look up 
to me, and tremble ? — 

The Last Hour. — Storms are my danger. Shall 
I have my storm in which I perish, as Oliver 
Cromwell perished in his storm? Or shall I 
go out as a light does, not first blown out by 
the wind, but grown tired and weary of itseli — a 
burnt-out light? Or finally, shall I blow myself 
out, so as not to burn out? 


Prophetic Men. — Ye cannot divine how sorely 
prophetic men suffer: ye think only that a fine 
"gift" has been given to them, and would fain have it 
yourselves, — but I will express my meaning by a 
simile. How much may not the animals suffer from 
the electricity ot the atmosphere and the clouds ! 
Some of them, as we see, have a prophetic faculty 
with regard to the weather, for example, apes 


(as one can observe very well even in Europe, — 
and not only in menageries, but at Gibraltar). But 
it never occurs to us that it is their sufferings — that 
are their prophets ! When strong positive elec- 
tricity, under the influence of an approaching 
cloud not at all visible, is suddenly converted 
into negative electricity, and an alteration of the 
weather is imminent, these animals then behave 
as if an enemy were approaching them, and pre- 
pare for defence, or flight : they generally hide 
themselves, — they do not think of the bad weather 
as weather, but as an enemy whose hand they 
already ^^// 

Retrospect. — We seldom become conscious of the 
real pathos of any period of life as such, as long 
as we continue in it, but always think it is 
the only possible and reasonable thing for us 
henceforth, and that it is altogether ethos and not 
pathos * — to speak and distinguish like the Greeks. 
A few notes of music to-day recalled a winter and 
a house, and a life of utter solitude to my mind, 
and at the same time the sentiments in which I 
then lived : I thought I should be able to live 
in such a state always. But now I understand 
that it was entirely pathos and passion, something 
comparable to this painfully bold and truly com- 
forting music, — it is not one's lot to have these 

* The distinction between ethos and pathos in ^ristotle 
is, broadly, that between internal character and external 
circumstance. — P. V. C. 


sensations for years, still less for eternities : other- 
wise one would become too "ethereal" for this 



Wisdom in Pain.— In pain there is as much 

wisdom as in pleasure : like the latter it is one of 

the best self-preservatives of a species. Were it not 

so, pain would long ago have been done away with ; 

that it is hurtful is no argument against it, for 

to be hurtful is its very essence. In pain I hear 

the commanding call of the ship's captain : " Take 

in sail!" "Man," the bold seafarer, must have 

learned to set his sails in a thousand different ways, 

otherwise he could not have sailed long, for the 

ocean would soon have swallowed him up. We 

must also know how to live with reduced energy : 

as soon as pain gives its precautionary signal, it is 

time to reduce the speed— some great danger, 

some storm, is approaching, and we do well to 

" catch " as little wind as possible.— It is true that 

there are men who, on the approach of severe pain, 

hear the very opposite call of command, and never 

appear more proud, more martial, or more happy 

than when the storm is brewing; indeed, pain 

itself provides them with their supreme moments ! 

These are the heroic men, the great pain-hringers 

of mankind : those few and rare ones who need 

just the same apology as pain generally,— and 

verily, it should not be denied them! They are 

forces of the greatest importance for preserving and 

advancing the species, be it only because they are 

opposed to smug ease, and do not conceal their 

disgust at this kind of happiness. 


As Interpreters of our Experiences. — One form of 
honesty has always been lacking among founders 
of religions and their kin : — they have never made 
their experiences a matter of the intellectual con- 
science. " What did I really experience ? What 
then took place in me and around me ? Was my 
understanding clear enough? Was my will 
directly opposed to all deception of the senses, 
and courageous in its defence against fan- 
tastic notions?" — None of them ever asked 
these questions, nor to this day do any of the 
good religious people ask them. They have rather 
a thirst for things which are contrary to reason, 
and they don't want to have too much difficulty 
in satisfying this thirst, — so they experience 
"miracles" and "regenerations," and hear the 
voices of angels ! But we who are different, who 
are thirsty for reason, want to look as carefully into 
our experiences as in the case of a scientific ex- 
periment, hour by hour, day by day! We our- 
selves want to be our own experiments, and our 
own subjects of experiment. 


On Meeting Again. — A : Do I quite understand 
you ? You are in search of something ? Where, 
in the midst of the present, actual world, is, your 
niche and star? Where can you lay yourself in 
the sun, so that you also may have a surplus of 
well-being, that your existence may justify itself? 
Let everyone do that for himself— you seem to say, 


— and let him put talk about generalities, concern 
for others and society, out of his mind ! — B : I 
want more ; I am no seeker. I want to create my 
own sun for myself. 

A New Precaution. — Let us no longer think so 
much about punishing, blaming, and improving! 
We shall seldom be able to alter an individual, and 
if we should succeed in doing so, something else 
may also succeed, perhaps unawares : we may have 
been altered by him ! Let us rather see to it that 
our own influence on all that is to come outweighs 
and overweighs his influence ! Let us not struggle 
in direct conflict! — all blaming, punishing, and 
desire to improve comes under this category. 
But let us elevate ourselves all the higher! Let 
us ever give to our pattern more shining colours ! 
Let us obscur^ the other by our light ! No ! We 
do not mean to become darker ourselves on his 
account, like those who punish and are discontented I 
Let us rather go aside ! Let us look away I 

A Simile, — Those thinkers in whom all the stars 
move in cyclic orbits, are not the most profound. 
He who looks into himself, as into an immense 
universe, and carries Milky Ways in himself, knows 
also how irregular all Milky Ways are ; they lead 
into the very chaos and labyrinth of existence. 

Happiness in Destiny. — Destiny confers its great- 
est distinction upon us when it has made us fight 


for a time on the side of our adversaries. We are 
thereby predestined to a great victory. 


In Media Vita. — No ! Life has not deceived 
nne ! On the contrary, from year to year I find it 
richer, more desirable and more mysterious — from 
the day on which the great liberator broke my 
fetters, the thought that life may be an experiment 
of the thinker — and not a duty, not a fatality, not 
a deceit ! — And knowledge itself may be for others 
something different ; for example, a bed of ease, 
or the path to a bed of ease, or an entertainment, 
or a course of idling, — for me it is a world of 
dangers and victories, in which even the heroic 
sentiments have their arena and dancing-floor. 
^^ Life as a means to knowledge" — with this prin- 
ciple in one's heart, one can not only be brave, 
but can even live joyfully and laugh joyfully I And 
who could know how to laugh well and live well, 
who did not first understand the full significance 
of war and victory ? 


What Belongs to Greatness. — Who can attain to 
anything great if he does not feel in himself the 
force and will to inflict great pain? The ability 
to suffer is a small matter: in that line, weak 
women and even slaves often attain masterliness. 
But not to perish from internal distress and doubt 
when one inflicts great suffering and hears the cry 
of it — that is great, that belongs to greatness. 



Physicians of the Soul and Pain. — All preachers 
of morality, as also all theologians, have a bad 
habit in common : all of them try to persuade 
man that he is very ill, and that a severe, final, 
radical cure is necessary. And because mankind as 
a whole has for centuries listened too eagerly to 
those teachers, something of the superstition that 
the human race is in a very bad way has actually 
come over men : so that they are now far too ready 
to sigh ; they find nothing more in life and make 
melancholy faces at each other, as if life were 
indeed very hard to endure. In truth, they are 
inordinately assured of their life and in love with 
it, and full of untold intrigues and subtleties for 
suppressing everything disagreeable, and for ex- 
tracting the thorn from pain and misfortune. It 
seems to me that people always speak with ex- 
aggeration about pain and misfortune, as if it were 
a matter of good behaviour to exaggerate here: 
on the other hand people are intentionally silent 
in regard to the number of expedients for alleviat- 
ing pain ; as for instance, the deadening of it, 
feverish flurry of thought, a peaceful position, or 
good and bad reminiscences, intentions, and hopes, 
— also many kinds of pride and fellow-feeling, which 
have almost the effect of anaesthetics : while in the 
greatest degree of pain fainting takes place of itself. 
We understand very well how to pour sweetness 
on our bitterness, especially on the bitterness of 
our soul ; we find a remedy in our bravery and 
sublimity, as well as in the nobler delirium of sub- 


mission and resignation. A loss scarcely remains 
a loss for an hour : in some way or other a gift from 
heaven has always fallen into our lap at the same 
moment — a new form of strength, for example: 
be it but a new opportunity for the exercise of 
strength ! What have the preachers of morality 
not dreamt concerning the inner '* misery " of evil 
men ! What lies have they not told us about the 
misfortunes of impassioned men ! Yes, lying is here 
the right word : they were only too well aware of 
the overflowing happiness of this kind of man, but 
they kept silent as death about it ; because it was 
a refutation of their theory, according to which 
happiness only originates through the annihilation 
of the passions and the silencing of the will ! And 
finally, as regards the recipe of all those physicians 
of the soul and their recommendation of a severe 
radical cure, we may be allowed to ask : Is our 
life really painful and burdensome enough for us 
to exchange it with advantage for a Stoical mode 
of living, and Stoical petrification ? We do not feel 
sufficiently miserable to have to feel ill in the 
Stoical fashion ! 

Taking Things Seriously. — The intellect is with 
most people an awkward, obscure and creaking 
machine, which is difficult to set in motion : they 
call it " taking a thing seriously " when they work 
with this machine and want to think well — oh, 
how burdensome must good thinking be to them ! 
That delightful animal, man, seems to lose his good- 
humour whenever he thinks well ; he becomes 
«< serious " ! And " where there is laughing and 


gaiety, thinking cannot be worth anything:" — so 
speaks the prejudice of this serious animal against 
all " Joyful Wisdom."— Well, then ! Let us show 
that it is prejudice ! 

Doing Harm to Stupidity.— It is certain that the 
belief in the reprehensibility of egoism, preached 
with such stubbornness and conviction, has on the 
whole done harm to egoism {in favour of the herd- 
instinct, as I shall repeat a hundred times !), especi- 
ally by depriving it of a good conscience, and by 
bidding us seek in it the source of all misfortune. 
" Thy selfishness is the bane of thy life "—so rang 
the preaching for millenniums : it did harm, as we 
have said, to selfishness, and deprived it of much 
spirit, much cheerfulness, much ingenuity, and 
much beauty; it stultified and deformed and 
poisoned selfishness! — Philosophical antiquity, on 
the other hand, taught that there was another 
principal source of evil : from Socrates downwards, 
the thinkers were never weary of preaching that 
"your thoughtlessness and stupidity, your un- 
thinking way of living according to rule, and 
your subjection to the opinion of your neighbour, 
are the reasons why you so seldom attain to 
happiness,— we thinkers are, as thinkers, the 
happiest of mortals." Let us not decide here 
whether this preaching against stupidity was more 
sound than the preaching against selfishness ; it 
is certain, however, that stupidity was thereby 
deprived of its good conscience: — those philoso- 
phers did harm to stupidity. 



Leisure and Idleness. — Th^r^ fc n„ t ^. 
savagery, a savagery peculiar to The Indfan itZ 

Told ""'rr 'r'"''^'' *^ Americans strTve after' 
gold: and the breathless hurry of their work 
the characteristic vice of the New WorldlaTead^ 

lectuar on^, °'"' " ^ ^"-^"ge lack of intel- 
ectuality. One is now ashamed of repose- ev^n 

Thfni:i„"r irdo'""'^^"^^ ■•^"■°- of r„:cie:: 

atraid of opportunities slip." "Better L 
anythmg whatever, than nothing "-this or !.; 1 
also ,s a noose with which al! cultu e Ind aH 
higher taste may be strangled. And just "s a 
form obviously disappears in this hurry o? worker 

in ihterco^ se'' with friends"" ""' "^^ '"^"°"^' 

C" fo°; Sn^ornLtr^u"; :f ■■- "-^ 

consume hfs intellect even fT u • P^''°" ^° 
real virtue nowadays is to do something in a 


shorter time than another person. And so there 
are only rare hours of sincere intercourse per mt Ued : 
in them, however, people are tired, and would 
not only like "to let themselves go," but to 
stretch their legs out wide in awkward style. 
The way people write their letters nowadays is 
quite in keeping with the age ; their style and 
spirit will always be the true " sign of the times." 
If there be still enjoyment in society and in art, 
it is enjoyment such as over-worked slaves provide 
for themselves. Oh, this moderation in "joy" of 
our cultured and uncultured classes ! Oh, this 
increasing suspiciousness of all enjoyment ! Work 
is winning over more and more the good conscience 
to its side : the desire for enjoyment already calls 
itself " need of recreation," and even begins to be 
ashamed of itself. " One owes it to one's health," 
people say, when theyare caught at a picnic. Indeed, 
it might soon go so far that one could not yield to 
the desire for the vita contemplativa (that is to say, 
excursions with thoughts and friends), without self- 
contempt and a bad conscience. — Well ! Formerly 
it was the very reverse : it was "action" that suffered 
from a bad conscience. A man of good family 
concealed his work when need compelled him to 
labour. The slave laboured under the weight of 
the feeling that he did something contemptible : — 
the "doing" itself was something contemptible. 
" Only in otium and belluni is there nobility 
and honour : " so rang the voice of ancient pre- 
judice I 


Applause. — The thinker does not need applause 
or the clapping of hands, provided he be sure of 
the clapping of his own hands : the latter, however, 
he cannot do without. Are there men who could 
also do without this, and in general without any- 
kind of applause ? I doubt it : and even as regards 
the wisest, Tacitus, who is no calumniator of the 
wise, says : quando etiam sapientibus glories cupido 
novissima exuitur — that means with him : never. 

Better Deaf than Deafened, — Formerly a person 
wanted to have his callings but that no longer suffices 
to-day, for the market has become too large, — 
there has now to be bawling. The consequence 
is that even good throats outcry each other, and 
the best wares are offered for sale with hoarse voices; 
without market-place bawling and hoarseness there 
is now no longer any genius. — It is, sure enough, 
an evil age for the thinker : he has to learn to find 
his stillness betwixt two noises, and has to pretend 
to be deaf until he finally becomes so. As long as 
he has not learned this, he is in danger of perishing 
from impatience and headaches. 

The Evil Hour. — There has perhaps been an 
evil hour for every philosopher, in which he thought : 
What do I matter, if people should not believe my 
poor arguments! — And then some malicious bird 
has flown past him and twittered : " What do you 
matter !• What do you matter f'^ 



WAat does Knowing Mean? — Non ridere^ non 
lugere, neque detestari, sed intelligere ! says Spinoza, 
so simply and sublimely, as is his wont. Neverthe- 
less, what else is this intelligere ultimately, but just 
the form in which the three other things become 
perceptible to us all at once? A result of the 
diverging and opposite impulses of desiring to 
deride, lament and execrate? Before knowledge 
is possible each of these impulses must first have 
brought forward its one-sided view of the object 
or event. The struggle of these one-sided views 
occurs afterwards, and out of it there occasionally 
arises a compromise, a pacification, a recognition 
of rights on all three sides, a sort of justice and 
agreement : for in virtue of the justice and agree- 
ment all those impulses can maintain themselves 
in existence and retain their mutual rights. We, to 
whose consciousness only the closing reconciliation 
scenes and final settling of accounts of these long 
processes manifest themselves, think on that account 
that intelligere is something conciliating, just and 
good, something essentially antithetical to the 
impulses ; whereas it is only a certain relation 
of the impulses to one another. For a very 
long time conscious thinking was regarded as 
the only thinking: it is now only that the truth 
dawns upon us that the greater part of ouf 
intellectual activity goes on unconsciously and 
unfelt by us ; I believe, however, that the im- 
pulses which are here in mutual conflict under- 
stand rightly how to make themselves felt by one 


another, and how to cause pain :— the violent 
sudden exhaustion which overtakes all thinkers' 
may have its origin here (it is the exhaustion of 
the battle-field). Aye, perhaps in our strugHinji 
interior there is much concealed heroism, hnX 
certanily nothing divine, or eternally-reposing-in- 
itself, as Spinoza supposed. Conscious thinking and 
especially that of the philosopher, is the weakest 
and on that account also the relatively mildest 
and quietest mode of thinking: and thus it is 
precisely the philosopher who is most easily misled 
concerning the nature of knowledge. 

^ One must Learn to Love.—TUs is our experience 
in music : we must first learn in general to hear 
to hear fully, and to distinguish a theme or a 
melody, we have to isolate and limit it as a life by 
Itself; then we need to exercise effort and good-will 
m order to endure it in spite of its strangeness, we 
need_ patience towards its aspect and expression 
and indulgence towards what is odd in it:— in the 
end there comes a moment when we are accustomed 
to It, when we expect it, when it dawns upon us 
that we should miss it if it were lacking ; and then 
It goes on to exercise its spell and charm more 
and more, and does not cease until we have become 
Its humble and enraptured lovers, who want it and 
want It again, and ask for nothing better from the 
world._It is thus with us, however, not only in 
music : It is precisely thus that we have learned 
to love everything that we love. We are always 
finally recompensed for our good-will, our patience 


reasonableness and gentleness towards what is 
unfamiliar, by the unfamiliar slowly throwing off 
its veil and presenting itself to us as a new, ineffable 
beauty : — that is its thanks for our hospitality. He 
also who loves himself must have learned it in this 
way : there is no other way. Love also has to be 

Cheers for Physics ! — How many men are there 
who know how to observe ? And among the few 
who do know, — how many observe themselves? 
"Everyone is furthest from himself" — all the "triers 
of the reins " know that to their discomfort ; and 
the saying, " Know thyself," in the mouth of a God 
and spoken to man, is almost a mockery. But 
that the case of self-observation is so desperate, 
is attested best of all by the manner in which 
almost everybody talks of the nature of a moral 
action, that prompt, willing, convinced, loquacious 
manner, with its look, its smile, and its pleasing 
eagerness! Everyone seems inclined to say to 
you: "Why, my dear Sir, that is precisely my affair ! 
You address yourself with your question to him 
who is authorised \.o answer, for I happen to be wiser 
with regard to this matter than in anything else. 
Therefore, when a man decides that ' this is right,' 
when he accordingly concludes that * it must there- 
fore be done', and thereupon does what he has thus 
recognised as right and designated as necessary — 
then the nature of his action is moral!" But, my 
friend, you are talking to me about three actions 
instead of one : your deciding, for instance, that 
"this is right," is also an action, — could one not 



judge either morally or immorally ? Why do you 
regard this, and just this, as right? — "Because my 
conscience tells me so ; conscience never speaks 
immorally, indeed it determines in the first place 
what shall be moral ! " — But why do you h'sfen to 
the voice of your conscience ? And in how far are 
you justified in regarding such a judgment as true 
and infallible? This belief—As, there no further 
conscience for it? Do you know nothing of an 
intellectual conscience ? A conscience behind your 
" conscience " ? Your decision, " this is right," has 
a previous history in your impulses, your likes and 
dislikes, your experiences and non-experiences ; 
" how has it originated ? " you must ask, and after- 
wards the further question : " what really impels me 
to give ear to it ? " You can listen to its command 
like a brave soldier who hears the command of 
his officer. Or like a woman who loves him who 
commands. Or like* a flatterer and coward, afraid 
of the commander. Or like a blockhead who follows 
because he has nothing to say to the contrary. In 
short, you can give ear to your conscience in a 
hundred different ways. But that you hear this or 
that judgment as the voice of conscience, conse- 
quently, that you feel a thing to be right— may have 
its cause in the fact that you have never thought 
about your nature, and have blindly accepted from 
your childhood what has been designated to you 
as right: or in the fact that hitherto bread and 
honours have fallen to your share with that which 
you call your duty, — it is " right " to you, because 
it seems to be your " condition of existence " (that 
you, however, have a right to existence seems to 


you irrefutable !). The persistency of your moral 
judgment might still be just a proof of personal 
wretchedness or impersonality; your "moral force" 
might have its source in your obstinacy — or in 
your incapacity to perceive new ideals! And to 
be brief: if you had thought more acutely, observed 
more accurately, and had learned more, you would 
no longer under all circumstances call this and that 
your " duty " and your " conscience " : the know- 
ledge how moral judgments have in general always 
originated would make you tired of these pathetic 
words, — as you have already grown tired of other 
pathetic words, for instance "sin," "salvation," and 
" redemption." — And now, my friend, do not talk to 
me about the categorical imperative ! That word 
tickles my ear, and I must laugh in spite of your 
presence and your seriousness. In this connection 
I recollect old Kant, who, as a punishment for having 
gained possession surreptitiously of the "thing in 
itself" — also a very ludicrous affair ! — was imposed 
upon by the categorical imperative, and with that in 
his heart strayed back again to " God," the " soul," 
"freedom," and "immortality," like a fox which 
strays back into its cage : and it had been his strength 
and shrewdness which had broken open this cage ! — 
What ? You admire the categorical imperative in 
you ? This " persistency " of your so-called moral 
judgment? This absoluteness of the feeling that 
" as I think on this matter, so must everyone think"? 
Admire rather your selfishness therein ! And the 
blindness, paltriness, and modesty of your selfish- 
ness ! For it is selfishness in a person to regard 
his judgment as universal law, and a blind, paltry 


and modest selfishness besides, because it betrays 
that you have not yet discovered yourself, that you 
have not yet created for yourself any personal, 
quite personal ideal : — for this could never be the 
ideal of another, to say nothing of all, of every 

one! He who still thinks that "each would 

have to act in this manner in this case," has not yet 
advanced half a dozen paces in self-knowledge : 
otherwise he would know that there neither are, nor 
can be, similar actions, — that every action that has 
been done, has been done in an entirely unique and 
inimitable manner, and that it will be the same 
with regard to all future actions ; that all precepts 
of conduct (and even the most esoteric and subtle 
precepts of all moralities up to the present), apply 
only to the coarse exterior, —that by means of them, 
indeed, a semblance of equality can be attained, 
but only a semblance^ — that in outlook and retrospect, 
every action is, and remains, an impenetrable affair, 
— that our opinions of the "good," "noble" and 
"great" can never be proved by our actions, because 
no action is cognisable, — that our opinions, esti- 
mates, and tables of values are certainly among 
the most powerful levers in the mechanism of our 
actions, that in every single case, nevertheless, the 
law of their mechanism is untraceable. Let us 
confine ourselves, therefore, to the purification of our 
opinions and appreciations, and to the construction 
of new tables of value of our own : — we will, how- 
ever, brood no longer over the " moral worth of our 
actions"! Yes, my friends ! As regards the whole 
moral twaddle of people about one another, it is 
time to be disgusted with it I To sit in judgment 


morally ought to be opposed to our taste! Let 
us leave this nonsense and this bad taste to those 
who have nothing else to do, save to drag the past 
a little distance further through time, and who are 
never themselves the present,— consequently to the 
many, to the majority! We, however, ww/^ seek 
to become what we are,— the new, the unique, the in- 
comparable, making laws for ourselves and creating 
ourselves ! And for this purpose we must become 
the best students and discoverers of all the laws 
and necessities in the world. We must be physicists 
in order to be creators in that sense,— whereas 
hitherto all appreciations and ideals have been 
based on ignorance of physics, or in contradiction 
thereto. And therefore, three cheers for physics ! 
And still louder cheers for that which impels us 
thereto — our honesty. 

Avarice of Nature.— ^hy has nature been so 
niggardly towards humanity that she has not let 
human beings shine, this man more and that man 
less, according to their inner abundance of light ? 
Why have not great men such a fine visibility in 
their rising and setting as the sun? How much 
less equivocal would life among men then be ! 

Future " Hutnanityy—Wh&n I look at this age 
with the eye of a distant future, I find nothing 
so remarkable in the man of the present day as his 
peculiar virtue and sickness called " the historical 
sense." It is a tendency to something quite new 


and foreign in history : if this embryo were given 
several centuries and more, there might finally 
evolve out of it a marvellous plant, with a smell 
equally marvellous, on account of which our old 
earth might be more pleasant to live in than it has 
been hitherto. We moderns are just beginning 
to form the chain of a very powerful, future senti- 
ment, link by link,— we hardly know what we are 
doing. It almost seems to us as if it were not the 
question of a new sentiment, but of the decline of all 
old sentiments .-—the historical sense is still some- 
thing so poor and cold, and many are attacked by it 
as by a frost, and are made poorer and colder by it. 
To others it appears as the indication of stealthily 
approaching age, and our planet is regarded by 
them as a melancholy invalid, who, in order to 
forget his present condition, writes the history of 
his youth. In fact, this is one aspect of the new 
sentiment. He who knows how to regard the 
history of man in its entirety as his own history, 
feels in the immense generalisation all the grief 
of the invalid who thinks of health, of the old 
man who thinks of the dream of his youth, of the 
lover who is robbed of his beloved, of the martyr 
whose ideal is destroyed, of the hero on the 
evening of the indecisive battle which has 
brought him wounds and the loss of a friend. 
But to bear this immense sum of grief of all 
kinds, to be able to bear it, and yet still be 
the hero who at the commencement of a second 
day of battle greets the dawn and his happiness, 
as one who has an horizon of centuries before 
and behind him, as the heir of all nobility, of all 


past intellect, and the obligatory heir (as the 
noblest) of all the old nobles ; while at the same 
time the first of a new nobility, the equal of which 
has never been seen nor even dreamt of: to 
take all this upon his soul, the oldest, the newest, 
the losses, hopes, conquests, and victories of man- 
kind : to have all this at last in one soul, and to 
comprise it in one feeling : — this would necessarily 
furnish a happiness which man has not hitherto 
known, — a God's happiness, full of power and love, 
full of tears and laughter, a happiness which, like 
the sun in the evening, continually gives of its 
inexhaustible riches and empties into the sea, — 
and like the sun, too, feels itself richest when even 
the poorest fisherman rows with golden oars ! This 
divine feeling might then be called— humanity ! 


The Will to Suffering and the Compassionate. — Is 
it to your advantage to be above all compassionate ? 
And is it to the advantage of the sufferers when 
you are so ? But let us leave the first question for 
a moment without an answer. — That from which 
we suffer most profoundly and personally is almost 
incomprehensible and inaccessible to every one else : 
in this matter we are hidden from our neighbour 
even when he eats at the same table with us. 
Everywhere, however, where we are noticed as 
sufferers, our suffering is interpreted in a shallow 
way ; it belongs to the nature of the emotion of 
pity to divest unfamiliar suffering of its properly 
personal character : — our " benefactors " lower our 
value and volition more than our enemies. In 


most benefits which are conferred on the unfor- 
tunate there is something shocking in the intellec- 
tual levity with which the compassionate person 
plays the role of fate : he knows nothing of all the 
inner consequences and complications which are 
called misfortune for me or for you ! The entire 
economy of my soul and its adjustment by " mis- 
fortune," the uprising of new sources and needs, the 
closing up of old wounds, the repudiation of whole 
periods of the past — none of these things which 
may be connected with misfortune preoccupy the 
dear sympathiser. He wishes to succour^ and does 
not reflect that there is a personal necessity for mis- 
fortune; that terror, want, impoverishment, midnight 
watches, adventures, hazards and mistakes are as 
necessary to me and to you as their opposites, yea, 
that, to speak mystically, the path to one's own 
heaven always leads through the voluptuousness of 
one's own hell. No, he knows nothing thereof. The 
" religion of compassion " (or " the heart ") bids him 
help, and he thinks he has helped best when he has 
helped most speedily! If you adherents of this 
religion actually have the same sentiments towards 
yourselves which you have towards your fellows, 
if you are unwilling to endure your own suffering 
even for an hour, and continually forestall all 
possible misfortune, if you regard suffering and 
pain generally as evil, as detestable, as deserving 
of annihilation, and as blots on existence, well, you 
have then, besides your religion of compassion, yet 
another religion in your heart (and this is perhaps 
the mother of the former) — the religion of smug ease. 
Ah, how little you know of the happiness of 


man, you comfortable and good-natured ones ! — for 
happiness and misfortune are brother and sister, 
and twins, who grow tall together, or, as with 
you, remain small together ! But now let us 
return to the first question. — How is it at all 
possible for a person to keep to his path ! Some 
cry or other is continually calling one aside : our 
eye then rarely lights on anything without it 
becoming necessary for us to leave for a moment 
our own affairs and rush to give assistance. I 
know there are hundreds of respectable and laud- ^ 
able methods of making me stray from my course^ 
and in truth the most " moral " of methods ! 
Indeed, the opinion of the present-day preachers 
of the morality of compassion goes so far as to 
imply that just this, and this alone is moral: — to 
stray from our course to that extent and to run 
to the assistance of our neighbour. I am equally 
certain that I need only give myself over to the 
sight of one case of actual distress, and I, too, 
am lost! And if a suffering friend said to me, 
" See, I shall soon die, only promise to die with 
me" — I might promise it, just as — to select for 
once bad examples for good reasons — the sight of 
a small, mountain people struggling for freedom, 
would bring me to the point of offering them my 
hand and my life. Indeed, there is even a secret 
seduction in all this awakening of compassion, and 
calling for help : our " own way " is a thing too^ 
hard and insistent, and too far removed from the 
love and gratitude of others, — we escape from it 
and from our most personal conscience, not at all 
unwillingly, and, seeking security in the conscience 

26^ THE Joyful WISDOM, iv 

of others, we take refuge in the lovely temple of 
the " religion of pity." As soon now as any war 
breaks out, there always breaks out at the same 
time a certain secret delight precisely in the 
noblest class of the people : they rush with rapture 
to meet the new danger of deaths because they 
believe that in the sacrifice for their country they 
have finally that long-sought-for permission — the 
permission to shirk their aim : — war is for them a 
detour to suicide, a detour, however, with a good 
conscience. And although silent here about some 
things, I will not, however, be silent about my 
morality, which says to me : Live in conceal- 
ment in order that thou mayest live to thyself 
Live ignorant of that which seems to thy age 
to be most important! Put at least the skin of 
three centuries betwixt thyself, and the present 
day! And the clamour of the present day, the 
noise of wars and revolutions, ought to be a 
murmur to thee! Thou wilt also want to help, 
but only those whose distress thou entirely under - 
standest, because they have one sorrow and one 
hope in common with thee — ^y friends : and only 
in the way that thou helpest thyself: — I want to 
make them more courageous, more enduring, more 
simple, more joyful ! I want to teach them that 
which at present so few understand, and the 
preachers of fellowship in sorrow least of all : — 
m.vciQ\y, fellowship in Joy I 

Vita femina. — To see the ultimate beauties in a 
work — all knowledge and good-will is not enough ; 


It requires the rarest, good chance for the veil of 
clouds to move for once from the summits, and for 
the sun to shine on them. We must not only 
stand at precisely the right place to see this, our 
very soul itself must have pulled away the veil 
from its heights, and must be in need of an external 
expression and simile, so as to have a hold and 
remain master of itself All these, however, are 
so rarely united at the same time that I am 
inclined to believe that the highest summit of all 
that is good, be it work, deed, man, or nature, has 
hitherto remained for most people, and even for 
the best, as something concealed and shrouded : — 
that, however, which unveils itself to us, unveils 
itself to us but once. The Greeks indeed prayed : 
"Twice and thrice, everything beautiful!" Ah, 
they had their good reason to call on the Gods, 
for ungodly actuality does not furnish us with 
the beautiful at all, or only does so once ! I mean 
to say that the world is overfull of beautiful things, 
but it is nevertheless poor, very poor, in beautiful 
moments, and in the unveiling of those beautiful 
things. But perhaps this is the greatest charm of 
life: it puts a gold-embroidered veil of lovely 
potentialities over itself, promising, resisting, 
modest, mocking, sympathetic, seductive. Yes, 
life is a woman ! 


The Dying Socrates. — I admire the courage and 

wisdom of Socrates in all that he did, said— and 

did not say. This mocking and amorous demon 

and rat-catcher of Athens, who made the most 

* insolent youths tremble and sob, was not only the 


wisest babbler that has ever lived, but was just as 
great in his silence. I would that he had also 
been silent in the last moment of his life, — perhaps 
he might then have belonged to a still higher 
order of intellects. Whether it was death, or the 
poison, or piety, or wickedness — something or 
other loosened his tongue at that moment, and he 
said : " O Crito, I owe a cock to Asclepios." For 
him who has ears, this ludicrous and terrible " last 
word " implies : " O Crito, life is a long sickness ! " 
Is it possible ! A man like him, who had lived 
cheerfully and to all appearance as a soldier, — 
was a pessimist ! He had merely put on a good 
demeanour towards life, and had all along concealed 
his ultimate judgment, his profoundest sentiment ! 
Socrates, Socrates had suffered from life ! And 
he also took his revenge for it — with that veiled, 
fearful, pious, and blasphemous phrase ! Had even 
a Socrates to revenge himself? Was there a grain 
too little of magnanimity in his superabundant 
virtue ? Ah, my friends ! We must surpass even 
the Greeks ! 
M/ 341- 

"^ - The Heaviest Burden. — What if a demon' crept 

after thee into thy loneliest loneliness some day 
or night, and said to thee: "This life, as thou 
livest it at present, and hast lived it, thou must 
live it once more, and also innumerable times ; 
and there will be nothing new in it, but every 
pain and every joy and every thought and every 
sigh, and all the unspeakably small and great 
in thy life must come to thee again, and all 
in the same series and sequence — and similarly 


this spider and this moonlight among the trees, 
and similarly this moment, and I myself. The 
eternal sand-glass of existence will ever be turned 
once more, and thou with it, thou speck of dust ! " 
— Wouldst thou not throw thyself down and gnash 
thy teeth, and curse the demon that so spake? 
Or hast thou once experienced a tremendous 
moment in which thou wouldst answer him : " Thou 
art a God, and never did I hear anything so 
divine!" If that thought acquired power over 
thee as thou art, it would transform thee, and 
perhaps crush thee ; the question with regard to all 
and everything : " Dost thou want this once more, 
and also for innumerable times ? " would lie as the 
heaviest burden upon thy activity ! Or, how wouldst 
thou have to become favourably inclined to thyself 
and to life, so as to long for nothing more ardently 
than for this last eternal sanctioning and sealing ? — 

Incipit Tragcedia. — When Zarathustra was thirty 
years old, he left his home and the Lake of Urmi, 
and went into the mountains. There he enjoyed 
his spirit and his solitude, and for ten years did 
not weary of it. But at last his heart changed, — 
and rising one morning with the rosy dawn, he 
went before the sun and spake thus to it : " Thou 
great star ! What would be thy happiness if thou 
hadst not those for whom thou shinest ! For ten 
years hast thou climbed hither unto my cave : thou 
wouldst have wearied of thy light and of the 
journey, had it not been for me, mine eagle, and my 
serpent. But we awaited thee every morning, took 


from thee thine overflow, and blessed thee for it. 
Lo ! I am weary of my wisdom, like the bee that 
hath gathered too much honey ; I need hands out- 
stretched to take it. I would fain bestow and 
distribute, until the wise have once more become 
joyous in their folly, and the poor happy in their 
riches. Therefore must I descend into the deep, 
as thou doest in the evening, when thou goest 
behind the sea and givest light also to the nether- 
world, thou most rich star ! Like thee must I go 
down, as men say, to whom I shall descend. Bless 
me then, thou tranquil eye, that canst behold even 
the greatest happiness without envy! Bless the 
cup that is about to overflow, that the water may 
flow golden out of it, and carry everywhere the 
reflection of thy bliss ! Lo ! This cup is again 
going to empty itself, and Zarathustra is again 
going to be a man."— Thus began Zarathustra's 



" Carcasse, tu trembles ? Tu 
tremblerais bien davantage, si 
tu savais, oii je te mene."— 

i8 m 

W/iai( our Cheerfulness Signifies. — The mosr^ 
important of more recent events — that "God is 
dead," that the belief in the Christian God has 
become unworthy of belief — already begins to cast 
its first shadows over Europe. To the kw at least 
whose eye, whose suspecting g\^.nce^ is strong enough 
and subtle enough for this drama, some sun 
seems to have set, some old, profound confidence 
seems to have changed into doubt : our old world 
must seem to them daily more darksome, distrustful, 
strange and " old." In the main, however, one may 
say that the event itself is far too great, too remote, 
too much beyond most people's power of apprehen- 
sion, for one to suppose that so much as the report 
of it could have reached them ; not to speak of 
many who already knew what had taken place, and 
what must all collapse now that this belief had been 
undermined, — because so much was built upon it,** 
so much rested on it, and had become one with it : 
for example, our entire European morality. This 
lengthy, vast and uninterrupted process of crum- 
bling, destruction, ruin and overthrow which is now 
imminent : who has realised it sufficiently to-day to 
have to stand up as the teacher and herald of such 
a tremendous logic of terror, as the prophet of a 
period of gloom and eclipse, the like of which has 


probably never taken place on earth before ? , . . 
Even we, the born riddle-readers, who wait as it 
were on the mountains posted 'twixt to-day and 
to-morrow, and engirt by their contradiction, we, 
the firstlings and premature children of the coming 
century, into whose sight especially the shadows 
which must forthwith envelop Europe should 
already have come — how is it that even we, with- 
out genuine sympathy for this period of gloom, 
contemplate its advent without any personal 
solicitude or fear? Are we still, perhaps, too 
much under the immediate effects of the event — 
and are these effects, especially as regards our- 
selves, perhaps the reverse of what was to be 
expected — not at all sad and depressing, but 
rather like a new and indescribable variety of 
light, happiness, relief, enlivenment, encourage- 
ment, and dawning day? ... In fact, we philo- 
sophers and " free spirits " feel ourselves irradiated 
as by a new dawn by the report that the "old 
God is dead " ; our hearts overflow with gratitude, 
astonishment, presentiment and expectation. At 
last the horizon seems open once more, granting 
even that it is not bright ; our ships can at last 
put out to sea in face of every danger ; every 
hazard is again permitted to the discerner ; the 
sea, our sea, again lies open before us ; perhaps 
never before did such an " open sea " exist. — 

To what Extent even We are still Pious. — It is 
said with good reason that convictions have no civic 
rights in the domain of science : it is only when a 


conviction voluntarily condescends to the modesty of 
an hypothesis, a preliminary standpoint for experi- 
ment, or a regulative fiction, that its access to the 
realm of knowledge, and a certain value therein, 
can be conceded, — always, however, with the re- 
striction that it must remain under police super- 
vision, under the police of our distrust. — Regarded 
more accurately, however, does not this imply that 
only when a conviction ceases to be a conviction 
can it obtain admission into science? Does not 
the discipline of the scientific spirit just commence 
when one no longer harbours any conviction ? . . . 
It is probably so : only, it remains to be asked 
whether, in order that this discipline may commence^ 
it is not necessary that there should already be a 
conviction, and in fact one so imperative and 
absolute, that it makes a sacrifice of all other 
convictions. One sees that science also rests 
on a belief : there is no science at all " without 
premises." The question whether truth is neces- 
sary, must not merely be affirmed beforehand, 
but must be affirmed to such an extent that 
the principle, belief, or conviction finds expres- 
sion, that " there is nothing more necessary than 
truth, and in comparison with it everything else 
has only secondary value." — This absolute will 
to truth: what is it? Is it the will not to allow 
ourselves to be deceived? Is it the will not io de- 
ceive ? For the will to truth could also be inter- 
preted in this fashion, provided one included under 
the generalisation, " I will not deceive " the 
special case, " I will not deceive myself" But 
why not deceive? Why not allow oneself to be 


deceived ? — Let it be noted that the reasons for the 
former eventuality belong to a category quite differ- 
ent from those for the latter : one does not want to 
be deceived oneself, under the supposition that it 
is injurious, dangerous, or fatal to be deceived, 
— in this sense science would be a prolonged 
process of caution, foresight and utility; against 
which, however, one might reasonably make objec- 
tions. What ? is not-wishing-to-be-deceived really 
less injurious, less dangerous, less fatal ? What do 
you know of the character of existence in all its 
phases to be able to decide whether the greater 
advantage is on the side of absolute distrust, or 
of absolute trustfulness ? In case, however, of both 
being necessary, much trusting and much distrust- 
ing, whence then should science derive the abso- 
lute belief, the conviction on which it rests, that 
truth is more important than anything else, even 
than every other conviction? This conviction 
could not have arisen if truth and untruth had 
both continually proved themselves to be use- 
ful : as is the case. Thus — the belief in science, 
which now undeniably exists, cannot have had 
its origin in such a utilitarian calculation, but 
rather in spite of the fact of the inutility and 
dangerousness of the " Will to truth," of " truth at 
all costs," being continually demonstrated. " At 
all costs " : alas, we understand that sufficiently 
well, after having sacrificed and slaughtered one 
belief after another at this altar ! — Consequently, 
" Will to truth " does not imply, " I will not allow 
i myself to be deceived," but — there is no other 
lalternative — " I will not deceive, not even myself" : 


and thus we have reached the realm of morality. 
For let one just ask oneself fairly: "Why wilt 
thou not deceive?" especially if it should seem— 
and it does seem— as if life were laid out with a 
view to appearance, I mean, with a view to error, 
deceit, dissimulation, delusion, self-delusion ; and 
when on the other hand it is a matter of fact that 
the great type of life has always manifested itself 
on the side of the most unscrupulous TroXi^rpoTroi. 
Such an intention might perhaps, to express 
it mildly, be a piece of Quixotism, a little 
enthusiastic craziness ; it might also, however, be 
something worse, namely, a destructive principle, 

hostile to life "Will to Truth,"^that might 

be a concealed Will to Death.-Thus the question 
Why is there science? leads back to the moral 
problem : What in general is the purpose of morality, 
if life, nature, and history are « non-moral '^ ? 
There is no doubt that the conscientious man in 
the daring and extreme sense in which he 
is presupposed by the belief in science, affirms 
thereby a world other than that of life, nature, 
and history ; and in so far as he affirms this " other 
world," what? must he not just thereby— deny 
its counterpart, this world, our world? ... But 
what I have in view will now be understood, namely, 
that it is always a metaphysical belief on which our 
belief in science rests,— and that even we knowing 
ones of to-day, tV>lf2JJ^'^-^ ^^^ anti-metaphysical, 
still take our fire from the conflagration kindled 
by a belief a millennium old, the Christian belief, 
which was also the belief of Plato, that God 
is truth, that the truth is divine. ... But what if 


this itself always becomes more untrustworthy, 
what if nothing any longer proves itself divine, 
except it be error, blindness, and falsehood ;— what 
if God himself turns out to be our most persistent 

Morality as a Problem.— K defect in personality 
revenges itself everywhere: an enfeebled, lank, 
obliterated, self-disavowing and disowning person- 
ality is no longer fit for anything good— it is 
least of all fit for philosophy. "Selflessness" 
has no value either in heaven or on earth ; the great 
\i problems all demand great love, and it is only the 
strong, well-rounded, secure spirits, those who have 
a solid basis, that are qualified for them. It makes 
the most material difference whether a thinker stands 
personally related to his problems, having his fate, 
his need, and even his highest happiness therein ; 
or merely impersonally, that is to say, if he can 
only feel and grasp them with the tentacles of cold, 
prying thought. In the latter case I warrant that 
nothing comes of it : for the great problems, grant- 
ing that they let themselves be grasped at all, do 
not let themselves be held by toads and weaklings : 
that has ever been their taste— a taste also which 
they share with all high-spirited women.— How is 
it that I have not yet met with any one, not even in 
books, who seems to have stood to morality in this 
position, as one who knew morality as a problem, 
and this problem as his own personal need, afflic- 
tion, pleasure and passion? It is obvious that 
up to the present morality has not been a problem 
at all; it has rather been the very ground on 


which people have met after all distrust, dissen- 
sion and contradiction, the hallowed place of 
peace, where thinkers could obtain rest. even from 
themselves, could recover breath and revive. I 
see no one who has ventured to criticise the 
estimates of moral worth. I miss in this con- 
nection even the attempts of scientific curiosity, 
and the fastidious, groping imagination of psycho- 
logists and historians, which easily anticipates a 
problem and catches it on the wing, without rightly 
knowing what it catches. With difficulty I have 
discovered some scanty data for the purpose of 
furnishing a history of the origin of these feelings 
and estimates of value (which is something different 
from a criticism of them, and also something differ- 
ent from a history of ethical systems). In an 
individual case I have done everything to encourage 
the inclination and talent for this kind of history — 
in vain, as it would seem to me at present. There 
is little to be learned from those historians of 
morality (especially Englishmen) : they themselves 
are usually, quite unsuspiciously, under the in- 
fluence of a definite morality, and act unwittingly 
as its armour-bearers and followers — perhaps still 
repeating sincerely the popular superstition of 
Christian Europe, that the characteristic of moral 
action consists in abnegation, self-denial, self- 
sacrifice, or in fellow-feeling and fellow-suffering. 
The usual error in their premises is their insist- 
ence on a certain consensus among human beings, 
at least among civilised human beings, with 
regard to certain propositions of morality, from 
thence they conclude that these propositions are 


absolutely binding even upon you and me ; or 
reversely, they come to the conclusion that no 
morality is binding, after the truth has dawned 
upon them that among different peoples moral 
valuations are necessarily different : both of which 
conclusions are equally childish follies. The error 
of the more subtle amongst them is that they 
discover and criticise the probably foolish opinions 
of a people about its own morality, or the opinions 
of mankind about human morality generally (they 
treat accordingly of its origin, its religious sanctions, 
the superstition of free will, and such matters), and 
they think that just by so doing they have criticised 
the morality itself. But the worth of a precept, 
" Thou shalt," is fundamentally different from 
and independent of such opinions about it, and 
must be distinguished from the weeds of error 
with which it has perhaps been overgrown : just 
as the worth of a medicine to a sick person is 
altogether independent of the question whether 
he has a scientific opinion about medicine, or 
merely thinks about it as an old wife would do. 
A morality could even have grown oui of an 
error : but with this knowledge the problem of its 
worth would not even be touched. — Thus, no one 
hitherto has tested the value of that most cele- 
brated of all medicines, called morality : for which 
purpose it is first of all necessary for one — to call it 
in question. Well, that is just our work. — 

Our Note of Interrogation. — But you don't under- 
stand it? As a matter of fact, an effort will be 


necessary in order to understand us. We seek 
for words ; we seek perhaps also for ears. Who 
are we after all ? If we wanted simply to call our- 
selves in older phraseology, atheists, unbelievers, 
or even immoralists, we should still be far from 
thinking ourselves designated thereby : we are all 
three in too late a phase for people generally to 
conceive, for fou, my inquisitive friends, to be able 
to conceive, what is our state of mind under the 
circumstances. No ! we have no longer the bitter- 
ness and passion of him who has broken loose, 
who has to make for himself a belief, a goal, 
and even a martyrdom out of his unbelief! We 
have become saturated with the conviction (and 
have grown cold and hard in it) that things 
are not at all divinely ordered in this world, nor 
even according to human standards do they go on 
rationally, mercifully, or justly : we know the fact 
that the world in which we live is ungodly, immoral, 
and " inhuman," — we have far too long interpreted 
it to ourselves falsely and mendaciously, according 
to the wish and will of our veneration, that is to say, 
according to our need. For man is a venerating 
animal ! But he is also a distrustful animal : and 
that the world is noi worth what we believed 
it to be worth is about the surest thing our dis- 
trust has at last managed to grasp. So much 
distrust, so much philosophy! We take good 
care not to say that the world is of /ess value : 
it seems to us at present absolutely ridiculous 
when man claims to devise values to surpass 
the values of the actual world, — it is precisely 
from that point that we have retraced our steps ; 


as from an extravagant error of human conceit and 
irrationality, which for a long period has not been 
recognised as such. This error had its last ex- 
pression in modern Pessimism ; an older and 
stronger manifestation in the teaching of Buddha ; 
but Christianity also contains it, more dubiously, 
to be sure, and more ambiguously, but none the 
less seductive on that account. The whole attitude 
of "man versus the world," man as world -denying 
principle, man as the standard of the value of 
things, as judge of the world, who in the end 
puts existence itself on his scales and finds it too 
light — the monstrous impertinence of this attitude 
has dawned upon us as such, and has disgusted 
us, — we now laugh when we find, "Man and 
World" placed beside one another, separated by 
the sublime presumption of the little word " and " ! 
But how is it ? Have we not in our very laugh- 
ing just made a further step in despising mankind ? 
And consequently also in Pessimism, in despising 
the existence cognisable by us? Have we not 
just thereby awakened suspicion that there is an 
opposition between the world in which we have 
hitherto been at home with our venerations — for 
the sake of which we perhaps endure life — and 
another world which we ourselves are: an inexor- 
able, radical, most profound suspicion concerning 
ourselves, which is continually getting us Euro- 
peans more annoyingly into its power, and could 
easily face the coming generation with the ter- 
rible alternative : Either do away with your 
venerations, or — with yourselves !" The latter 
would be Nihilism — but would not the former 


also be Nihilism? This is our note of interro- 

Believers and their Need of Belief. —Rovf much 
faith a person requires in order to flourish, how 
much " fixed opinion " he requires which he does 
not wish to have shaken, because he holds himself 
thereby— is a measure of his power (or more plainly 
speaking, of his weakness). Most people in old 
Europe, as it seems to me, still need Christianity 
at present, and on that account it still finds belief 
For such is man : a theological dogma might be 
refuted to him a thousand times,— provided, how- 
ever, that he had need of it, he would again and 
again accept it as " true,"— according to the famous 
"proof of power" of which the Bible speaks. 
Some have still need of metaphysics ; but also 
the impatient longing for certainty which at present 
discharges itself in scientific, positivist fashion 
among large numbers of the people, the longing 
by all means to get at something stable (while 
on account of the warmth of the longing the 
establishing of the certainty is more leisurely and 
negligently undertaken) :— even this is still the 
longing for a hold, a support ; in short, the instinct 
oj weakness, which, while not actually creating 
religions, metaphysics, and convictions of all kinds, 
nevertheless— preserves them. In fact, around all 
these positivist systems there fume the vapours of 
a certain pessimistic gloom, something of weari- 
ness, fatalism, disillusionment, and fear of new 
disillusionment— or else manifest animosity, ill- 
humour, anarchic exasperation, and whatever there 


is of symptom or masquerade of the feeling of 
weakness. Even the readiness with which our 
cleverest contemporaries get lost in wretched 
corners and alleys, for example, in Vaterlanderei 
(so I designate Jingoism, called chauvinisme in 
France, and " deutsck" in Germany), or in petty 
aesthetic creeds in the manner of Parisian natura- 
lisme (which only brings into prominence and 
uncovers that aspect of nature which excites 
simultaneously disgust and astonishment — they 
like at present to call this aspect la viritd vraie), 
or in Nihilism in the St Petersburg style (that 
is to say, in the belief in unbelief, even to 
martyrdom for it) : — this shows always and above 
all the need of belief, support, backbone, and 
buttress. . . . Belief is always most desired, most 
pressingly needed, where there is a lack of will : for 
the will, as emotion of command, is the distin- 
guishing characteristic of sovereignty and power. 
That is to say, the less a person knows how to 
command, the more urgent is his desire for that j 
which commands, and commands sternly, — a God, / 
a prince, a caste, a physician, a confessor, a dogma, / 
a party conscience. From whence perhaps itj^^ 
could be inferred that the two world-religions, 
Buddhism and Christianity, might well have had 
the cause of their rise, and especially of their rapid 
extension, in an extraordinary maladx_ofjIi£-wUL^ 
And in truth it has been so : botfi"religions lighted 
upon a longing, monstrously exaggerated by malady 
of the will, for an imperative, a " Thou-shalt," a 
longing going the length of despair ; both religions 
were teachers of fanaticism in times of slackness 


of will-power, and thereby offered to innumerable 
persons a support, a new possibility of exercising 
will, an enjoyment in willing. For in fact fanati- 
cism is the sole "volitional strength" to which 
the weak and irresolute can be excited, as a 
sort of hypnotising of the entire sensory-intellectual 
system, in favour of the over-abundant nutrition 
(hypertrophy) of a particular point of view and a 
particular sentiment, which then dominates — the 
Christian calls it hxs faith. When a man arrives 
at the fundamental conviction that he requires to 
be commanded, he becomes "a believer." Reversely, 
one could imagine a delight and a power of self- 
determining, and a freedom of will, whereby a spirit \ 
could bid farewell to every belief, to every wish for \ 
certainty, accustomed as it would be to support 
itself on slender cords and possibilities, and to 
dance even on the verge of abysses. Such a spirit ^ 
would be Xki<tfree spirit par excellence. 

The Origin of the Learned. — The learned man in 
Europe grows out of all the different ranks and 
social conditions, like a plant requiring no specific 
soil : on that account he belongs essentially and 
involuntarily to the partisans of democratic thought. 
But this origin betrays itself. If one has trained 
one's glance to some extent to recognise in a 
learned book or scientific treatise the intellectual 
idiosyncrasy of the learned man — all of them 
have such idiosyncrasy, — and if we take it by 
surprise, we shall almost always get a glimpse 
behind it of the "antecedent history" of the 


learned man and his family, especially of the 
nature of their callings and occupations. Where 
the feeling finds expression, " That is at last 
proved, I am now done with it," it is commonly 
the ancestor in the blood and instincts of the 
learned man that approves of the "accomplished 
work " in the nook from which he sees things ; — 
the belief in the proof is only an indication of what 
has been looked upon for ages by a laborious 
family as "good work." Take an example: the 
sons of registrars and office-clerks of every kind, 
whose main task has always been to arrange a 
variety of material, distribute it in drawers, and 
systematise it generally, evince, when they become 
learned men, an inclination to regard a problem 
as almost solved when they have systematised it. 
There are philosophers who are at bottom nothing 
but systematising brains — the formal part of the 
paternal occupation has become its essence to 
them. The talent for classifications, for tables 
of categories, betrays something; it is not for 
nothing that a person is the child of his parents. 
The son of an advocate will also have to be an 
advocate as investigator: he seeks as a first con- 
sideration, to carry the point in his case, as a 
second consideration, he perhaps seeks to be in 
the right. One recognises the sons of Protestant 
clergymen and schoolmasters by the nafve as- 
surance with which as learned men they already 
assume their case to be proved, when it has but 
been presented by them staunchly and warmly: 
they are thoroughly accustomed to people believing 
in them,— it belonged to their fathers' "trade"! 


A Jew, contrariwise, in accordance with his 
business surroundings and the past of his race, 
is least of all accustomed — to people believing 
him. Observe Jewish scholars with regard to this 
matter, — they all lay great stress on logic, that 
is to say, on compelling assent by means of reasons ; 
they know that they must conquer thereby, even 
when race and class antipathy is against them, even 
where people are unwilling to believe them. For 
in fact, nothing is more democratic than logic : 
it knows no respect of persons, and takes even the 
crooked nose as straight. (In passing we may 
remark that in respect to logical thinking, in 
respect to cleaner intellectual habits, Europe is 
not a little indebted to the Jews ; above all the 
Germans, as being a lamentably diraisonnable 
race, who, even at the present day, must always 
have their " heads washed "* in the first place. 
Wherever the Jews have attained to influence, they 
have taught to analyse more subtly, to argue more 
acutely, to write more clearly and purely : it has 
always been their problem to bring a people "to 

The Origin of the Learned once more. — To seek 
self-preservation merely, is the expression of a state 
of distress, or of limitation of the true, fundamental 
instinct of life, which aims at the extension of power, 
and with this in view often enough calls in question 
self-preservation and sacrifices it. It should be 

♦ In German the expression Kopf zu waschen, besides 
the literal sense, also means "to give a person a sound 
drubbing." — Tr. 


taken as symptomatic when individual philosophers, 
as for example, the consumptive Spinoza, have 
seen and have been obliged to see the principal 
feature of life precisely in the so-called self- 
preservative instinct: — they have just been men 
in states of distress. That our modern natural 
sciences have entangled themselves so much with 
Spinoza's dogma (finally and most grossly in 
Darwinism, with its inconceivably one-sided doc- 
trine of the " struggle for existence " — ), is probably 
owing to the origin of most of the inquirers into 
nature : they belong in this respect to the people, 
their forefathers have been poor and humble persons, 
who knew too well by immediate experience the 
difficulty of making a living. Over the whole 
of English Darwinism there hovers something of 
the suffocating air of over-crowded England, some- 
thing of the odour of humble people in need and 
in straits. But as an investigator of nature, a 
person ought to emerge from his paltry human 
nook : and in nature the state of distress does not 
prevail, but superfluity, even prodigality to the 
extent of folly. The struggle for existence is only 
an exception, a temporary restriction of the will to 
live ; the struggle, be it great or small, turns every- 
where on predominance, on increase and expansion, 
on power, in conformity to the will to power, which 
is just the will to live. 

In Honour of Homines Religiosi. — The struggle 
against the church is certainly (among other 
things — for it has a manifold significance) the 


Struggle of the more ordinary, cheerful, confiding, 
superficial natures against the rule of the graver, 
profounder, more contemplative natures, that is to 
say, the more malign and suspicious men, who 
with long continued distrust in the worth of life, 
brood also over their own worth : — the ordinary 
instinct of the people, its sensual gaiety, its " good 
heart," revolts against them. The entire Roman 
Church rests on a Southern suspicion of the nature 
of man (always misunderstood in the North), a 
suspicion whereby the European South has suc- 
ceeded to the inheritance of the profound Orient — 
the mysterious, venerable Asia — and its contem- 
plative spirit. Protestantism was a popular 
insurrection in favour of the simple, the respect- 
able, the superficial (the North has always been 
more good-natured and more shallow than the 
South), but it was the French Revolution that first 
gave the sceptre wholly and solemnly into the 
hands of the " good man " (the sheep, the ass, the 
goose, and everything incurably shallow, bawling, 
and fit for the Bedlam of " modern ideas "), 


In Honour of Priestly Natures. — I think that 
philosophers have always felt themselves very 
remote from that which the people (in all classes 
of society nowadays) take for wisdom : the prudent, 
bovine placidity, piety, and country-parson meek- 
ness, which lies in the meadow and gazes at life 
seriously and ruminatingly : — this is probably be- 
cause philosophers have not had sufficiently the 
taste of the "people," or of the country-parson, 


for that kind of wisdom. Philosophers will also 
perhaps be the last to acknowledge that the 
people should understand something of that which 
lies furthest from them, something of the great 
passion of the thinker, who lives and must live 
continually in the storm-cloud of the highest 
problems and the heaviest responsibilities (con- 
sequently, not gazing at all, to say nothing of 
doing so indifferently, securely, objectively). The 
people venerate an entirely different type of men 
when on their part they form the ideal of a 
"sage," and they are a thousand times justified 
in rendering homage with the highest eulogies and 
honours to precisely that type of men — namely, 
the gentle, serious, simple, chaste, priestly natures 
and those related to them, — it is to them that 
the praise falls due in the popular veneration of 
wisdom. And to whom should the multitude have 
more reason to be grateful than to these men who 
pertain to its class and rise from its ranks, but are 
persons consecrated, chosen, and sacrificed for its 
good — they themselves believe themselves sacrificed 
to God, — before whom every one can pour forth his 
heart with impunity, by whom he can get rid of his 
secrets, cares, and worse things (for the man who 
"communicates himself" gets rid of himself, and he 
who has " confessed " forgets). Here there exists a 
great need : for sewers and pure cleansing waters 
are required also for spiritual filth, and rapid 
currents of love are needed, and strong, lowly, pure 
hearts, who qualify and sacrifice themselves for 
such service of the non-public health-department — 
for it is a sacrificing, the priest is, and continues to 


be, a human sacrifice. . . . The people regard such 
sacrificed, silent, serious men of " faith " as " wisel' 
that is to say, as men who have become sages, as 
"reliable" in relation to their own unreliability. 
Who would desire to deprive the people of that 
expression and that veneration ? — But as is fair on 
the other side, among philosophers the priest also 
is still held to belong to the " people," and is not 
regarded as a sage, because, above all, they them- 
selves do not believe in " sages," and they already 
scent "the people" in this very belief and super- 
stition. It was modesty which invented in Greece 
the word "philosopher," and left to the play- 
actors of the spirit the superb arrogance of assuming 
the name " wise " — the modesty of such monsters 
of pride and self-glorification as Pythagoras and 

Why we can hardly Dispense with Morality. — 
The naked man is generally an ignominious 
spectacle — I speak of us European males (and by 
no means of European females!). If the most 
joyous company at table suddenly found themselves 
stripped and divested of their garments through the 
trick of an enchanter, I believe that not only would 
the joyousness be gone and the strongest appetite 
lost; — it seems that we Europeans cannot at all 
dispense with the masquerade that is called 
clothing. But should not the disguise of " moral 
men," the screening under moral formulae and 
notions of decency, the whole kindly concealment 
of our conduct under conceptions of duty, virtue, 
public sentiment, honourableness, and disinter- 


estedness, have just as good reasons in support 
of it? Not that I mean hereby that human 
wickedness and baseness, in short, the evil wild 
beast in us, should be disguised ; on the con- 
trary, my idea is that it is precisely as tame 
animals that we are an ignominious spectacle and 
require moral disguising, — that the "inner man" 
in Europe is far from having enough of intrinsic 
evil " to let himself be seen " with it (to be beautiful 
with it). The European disguises himself in 
morality because he has become a sick, sickly, 
crippled animal, who has good reasons for being 
" tame," because he is almost an abortion, an imper- 
fect, weak and clumsy thing. ... It is not the fierce- 
ness of the beast of prey that finds moral disguise 
necessary, but the gregarious animal, with its 
profound mediocrity, anxiety and ennui. Morality 
dresses up the European — let us acknowledge it ! — 
in more distinguished, more important, more con- 
spicuous guise — in " divine " guise — 


The Origin of Religions. — The real inventions of 
founders of religions are, on the one hand, to 
establish a definite mode of life and everyday 
custom, which operates as disciplina voluntatis, and 
at the same time does away with ennui ; and on 
the other hand, to give to that very niode of life an 
interpretation, by virtue of which it appears illumined 
with the highest value ; so that it henceforth becomes 
a good for which people struggle, and under certain 
circumstances lay down their lives. In truth, the 


second of these inventions is the more essential : 
the first, the mode of Hfe, has usually been there 
already, side by side, however, with other modes of 
life, and still unconscious of the value which it 
embodies. The import, the originality of the 
founder ot a religion, discloses itself usually in the 
fact that he sees the mode of life, selects it, and 
divines for the first time the purpose for which it 
can be used, how it can be interpreted. Jesus (or 
Paul) for example, found around him the life of the 
common people in the Roman province, a modest, 
virtuous, oppressed life : he interpreted it, he put 
the highest significance and value into it — and 
thereby the courage to despise every other mode 
of life, the calm fanaticism of the Moravians, the 
secret, subterranean self-confidence which goes on 
increasing, and is at last ready " to overcome the 
world " (that is to say, Rome, and the upper classes 
throughout the empire). Buddha, in like manner, 
found the same type of man, — he found it in fact 
dispersed among all the classes and social ranks of 
a people who were good and kind (and above all 
inoffensive), owing to indolence, and who likewise 
owing to indolence, lived abstemiously, almost 
without requirements. He understood that such a 
type of man, with all its vis inertiaey had inevitably 
to glide into a belief which promises to avoid the 
return of earthly ill (that is to say, labour and 
activity generally), — this " understanding " was his 
genius. The founder of a religion possesses 
psychological infallibility in the knowledge of a 
definite, average type of souls, who have not yet 
recognised themselves as akin. It is he who brings 


them together : the founding of a reh'gion, therefore, 
always becomes a long ceremony of recognition. — 

The " Genius of the Species^ — The problem of 
consciousness (or more correctly : of becoming 
conscious of oneself) meets us only when we begin 
to perceive in what measure we could dispense with 
it : and it is at the beginning of this perception 
that we are now placed by physiology and zoology 
(which have thus required two centuries to over- 
take the hint thrown out in advance by Leibnitz). 
For we could in fact think, feel, will, and recollect, 
we could likewise " act " in every sense of the term, 
and nevertheless nothing of it all need necessarily 
" come into consciousness " (as one says meta- 
phorically). The whole of life would be possible 
without its seeing itself as it were in a mirror : as 
in fact even at present the far greater part of our 
life still goes on without this mirroring, — and even 
our thinking, feeling, volitional life as well, how- 
ever painful this statement may sound to an older 
philosopher. What then is the purpose of conscious- 
ness generally, when it is in the main superfluous .? — 
Now it seems to me, if you will hear my answer 
and its perhaps extravagant supposition, that the 
subtlety and strength of consciousness are always in 
proportion to the capacity for communication of a man 
(or an animal), the capacity for communication in 
its turn being in proportion to the necessity for 
communication : the latter not to be understood as if 
precisely the individual himself who is master in 
the art of communicating and making known his 


necessities would at the same time have to be 
most dependent upon others for his necessities. 
It seems to me, however, to be so in relation to 
whole races and successions of generations • where 
necessity and need have long compelled men to 
communicate with their fellows and understand 
one another rapidly and subtly, a surplus of the 
power and art of communication is at last acquired 
as if It were a fortune which had gradually accumu- 
lated, and now waited for an heir to squander it 
prodigally (the so-called artists are these heirs in 
like manner the orators, preachers, and authors: 
all of them men who come at the end of a long 
succession, "late-born" always, in the best sense of 
the word, and as has been said, squanderers by 
their very nature). Granted that this observation 
IS correct, I may proceed further to the conjecture 
that consciousness generally has only been developed 
under the pressure of the necessity for communica- 
tzon -that from the first it has been necessary and 
useful only between man and man (especially 
between those commanding and those obeying) 
and has only developed in proportion to its utility 
Consciousness is properly only a connecting net- 
work between man and man,— it is only as 
such that it has had to develop; the recluse 
and wild-beast species of men would not have 
needed it The very fact that our actions, 
thoughts, feelings and motions come within the 
range of our consciousness-at least a part of them 
—is the result of a terrible, prolonged "must" 
ruhng man's destiny: as the most endangered 
animal he needed hdp and protection; he needed 


his fellows, he was obliged to express his distress, 
he had to know how to make himself understood — 
and for all this he needed " consciousness " first of 
all : he had to " know " himself what he lacked, 
to " know " how he felt, and to " know " what he 
thought. For, to repeat it once more, man, like 
every living creature, thinks unceasingly, but does 
not know it; the thinking which is becoming 
conscious of itself \s only the smallest part thereof, 
we may say, the most superficial part, the worst 
part : — for this conscious thinking alone is done in 
words, that is to say, in the symbols for communica- 
tion, by means of which the origin of consciousness 
is revealed. In short, the development of speech 
and the development of consciousness (not of 
reason, but of reason becoming self-conscious) go 
hand in hand. Let it be further accepted that it 
is not only speech that serves as a bridge between 
man and man, but also the looks, the pressure and 
the gestures ; our becoming conscious of our sense 
impressions, our power of being able to fix them, 
and as it were to locate them outside of ourselves, 
has increased in proportion as the necessity has 
increased for communicating them to others by 
means of signs. The sign-inventing man is at the 
same time the man who is always more acutely 
self-conscious ; it is only as a social animal that man 
has learned to become conscious of himself, — he is 
doing so still, and doing so more and more. — As is 
obvious, my idea is that consciousness does not 
I properly belong to the individual existence of man, 
I but rather to the social and gregarious nature in 
him ; that, as follows therefrom, it is only in rela- 


tion to communal and gregarious utility that it 
is finely developed ; and that consequently each 
of us, in spite of the best intention of understanding 
himself as individually as possible, and of" knowing 
himself," will always just call into consciousness 
the non-individual in him, namely, his "average- 
ness " ; — that our thought itself is continuously as it 
were outvoted by the character of consciousness — 
by the imperious " genius of the species " therein — 
and is translated back into the perspective of the 
herd. Fundamentally our actions are in an incom- 
parable manner altogether personal, unique and 
absolutely individual — there is no doubt about it ; 
but as soon as we translate them into conscious- 
ness, they do not appear so any longer. . . . This is 
the proper phenomenalism and perspectivism as I 
understand it : the nature of animal consciousness 
involves the notion that the world of which we can 
become conscious is only a superficial and symbolic 
world, a generalised and vulgarised world ; — that 
everything which becomes conscious becomes just 
thereby shallow, meagre, relatively stupid, — a 
generalisation, a symbol, a characteristic of the 
herd ; that with the evolving of consciousness there 
is always combined a great, radical perversion, 
falsification, superficialisation, and generalisation. 
Finally, the growing consciousness is a danger, 
and whoever lives among the most conscious 
Europeans knows even that it is a disease. As 
may be conjectured, it is not the antithesis of 
subject and object with which I am here con- 
cerned : I leave that distinction to the episte- 
mologists who have remained entangled in the 


toils of grammar (popular metaphysics). It is 
still less the antithesis of "thing in itself" and 
phenomenon, for we do not " know " enough to be 
entitled even to make such a distinction. Indeed, 
we have not any organ at all for knowings or for 
"truth": we "know" (or believe, or fancy) just as 
much as may be of use in the interest of the human 
herd, the species ; and even what is here called 
"usefulness" is ultimately only a belief, a fancy, 
and perhaps precisely the most fatal stupidity by 
which we shall one day be ruined. 

The Origin of our Conception of ^* Knowledge^ — I 
take this explanation from the street, I heard one 
of the people saying that "he knew me," so I 
asked myself: What do the people really under- 
stand by knowledge? what do they want when 
they seek "knowledge"? Nothing more than 
that what is strange is to be traced back to some- 
thing known. And we philosophers — have we 
really understood anything more by knowledge? 
The known, that is to say, what we are accustomed 
to so that we no longer marvel at it, the common- 
place, any kind of rule to which we are habituated, 
all and everything in which we know ourselves to be 
at home: — what? is our need of knowing not just 
this need of the known? the will to discover in 
everything strange, unusual, or questionable, some- 
thing which no longer disquiets us? Is it not 
possible that it should be the instinct of fear which 
enjoins upon us to know ? Is it not possible that 
the rejoicing of the discerner should be just his 


rejoicing in the regained feeling of security ? . . . 
One philosopher imagined the world " known " 
when he had traced it back to the " idea " : alas, 
was it not because the idea was so known, so 
familiar to him ? because he had so much less fear 
of the "idea" — Oh, this moderation of the dis- 
cerners ! let us but look at their principles, and at 
their solutions of the riddle 01 the world in this 
connection ! When they again find aught in things, 
among things, or behind things that is unfortunately 
very well known to us, for example, our multiplica- 
tion table, or our logic, or our willing and desiring, 
how happy they immediately are! For "what is 
known is understood": they are unanimous as to 
that. Even the most circumspect among them think 
that the known is at least more easily understood thaLn 
the strange ; that for example, it is methodically 
ordered to proceed outward from the "inner world," 
from " the facts of consciousness," because it is the 
world which is better known to us ! Error ol errors ! 
The known is the accustomed, and the accustomed 
is the most difficult of all to "understand," that 
is to say, to perceive as a problem, to perceive 
as strange, distant, " outside of us." . . . The great 
certainty of the natural sciences in comparison with 
psychology and the criticism of the elements of 
consciousness — unnatural sciences, as one might 
almost be entitled to call them — rests precisely on 
the fact that they take what is strange as their 
object: while it is almost like something contra- 
dictory and absurd to wish to take generally what 
is not strange as an object. . . . 



In what Manner Europe will always become ''more 
Artisticr—YroVxdXnz a living still enforces even 
in the present day (in our transition period when 
so much ceases to enforce) a definite rdle on almost 
all male Europeans, their so-called callings ; some 
have the liberty, an apparent liberty, to choose 
this rdle themselves, but most have it chosen for 
them. The result is strange enough. Almost all 
Europeans confound themselves with their rdle 
when they advance in age; they themselves are the 
victims of their "good acting," they have forgotten 
how much chance, whim and arbitrariness swayed 
them when their "calling" was decided— and how 
many other roles they could perhaps have played : 
for it is now too late ! Looked at more closely, we 
see that their characters have actually evolved ont 
of their role, nature out of art. There were ages in 
which people believed with unshaken confidence, 
yea, with piety, in their predestination for this very 
business, for that very mode of livelihood, and 
would not at all acknowledge chance, or the 
fortuitous role, or arbitrariness therein. Ranks, 
guilds, and hereditary trade privileges succeeded' 
with the help of this belief, in rearing those extra- 
ordinary broad towers of society which distinguished 
the Middle Ages, and of which at all events one 
thing remains to their credit : capacity for duration 
(and duration is a thing of the first rank on earth !). 
But there are ages entirely the reverse, the properly 
democratic ages, in which people tend to become 
more and more oblivious of this belief, and a sort 


of impudent conviction and quite contrary mode 
of viewing things comes to the front, the Athenian 
conviction which is first observed in the epoch of 
Pericles, the American conviction of the present 
day, which wants also more and more to become 
a European conviction : whereby the individual is 
convinced that he can do almost anything, that he 
can play almost any rSle, whereby everyone makes ex- 
periments with himself, improvises, tries anew, tries 
with delight, whereby all nature ceases and becomes 
art. . . . The Greeks, having adopted this rdle- 
creed—an artist creed, if you will — underwent step 
by step, as is well known, a curious transformation, 
not in every respect worthy of imitation: t^ey 
became actual stage-players; and as such they 
enchanted, they conquered all the world, and at last 
even the conqueror of the world, (for the Graeculus 
histrio conquered Rome, and not Greek culture, as 
the nafve are accustomed to say . . .). What I 
fear, however, and what is at present obvious, if we 
desire to perceive it, is that we modern men are 
quite on the same road already; and whenever a man 
begins to discover in what respect he plays a role, 
and to what extent he can be a stage-player, he 
becomes a stage-player. ... A new flora and fauna 
of men thereupon springs up, which cannot grow in 
more stable, more restricted eras — or is left " at the 
bottom," under the ban and suspicion of infamy ; 
thereupon the most interesting and insane periods 
of history always make their appearance, in which 
" stage-players," all kinds of stage-players, are the 
real masters. Precisely thereby another species 
of man is always more and more injured, and in 


the end made impossible: above all the great 
"architects"; the building power is now being 
paralysed ; the courage that makes plans for the 
distant future is disheartened ; there begins to be 
a lack of organising geniuses. Who is there who 
would now venture to undertake works for the 
completion of which millenniums would have to be 
reckoned upon ? The fundamental belief is dying 
out, on the basis of which one could calculate, 
promise and anticipate the future in one's plan, and 
offer it as a sacrifice thereto, that in fact man has only 
value and significance in so far as he is a stone in a 
great building ; for which purpose he has first of all 
to be solid, he has to be a " stone." . . . Above all, 
not a— stage-player ! In short— alas! this fact 
will be hushed up for some considerable time to 
come ! — that which from henceforth will no longer 
be built, and can no longer be built, is — a society 
in the old sense of the term ; to build that structure 
everything is lacking, above all, the material. 
None of us are any longer material for a society: 
that is a truth which is seasonable at present! 
It seems to me a matter of indifference that mean- 
while the most short-sighted, perhaps the most 
honest, and at any rate the noisiest species of men 
of the present day, our friends the Socialists, believe, 
hope, dream, and above all scream and scribble 
almost the opposite ; in fact one already reads their 
watchword of the future: "free society," on all 
tables and walls. Free society? Indeed! Indeed! 
But you know, gentlemen, sure enough whereof one 
builds it? Out of wooden iron ! Out of the famous 
wooden iron I And not even out of wooden . . . 



The old Problem : " What is German ? "—Let us 

count up apart the real acquisitions of philosophical 
thought for which we have to thank German 
mtellects: are they in any allowable sense to be 
counted also to the credit of the whole race ? Can 
we say that they are at the same time the work of 
the German soul," or at least a symptom of it, in 
the sense in which we are accustomed to think for 
example, of Plato's ideomania, his almost relig ous 

of the Greek soul"? Or would the reverse per- 
haps be trueP Were they individually as m^ch 
excepuons to the spirit of the race, as was for 
example, Goethe's Paganism with k good con 
science P Or as Bismarck's Macchiavelism was with 
a good conscience, his so-called "practical politics" 
in Germany;. Did our philosophers perhL even 
go counter to the need of the « German souP' ? I^ 
soohicri"^ ' ^T'" Ph"°=°Phers really philo- 
Zh V r^T- ' '^" '° -""d three cases, 
i' ■rstly,Z«te^ ^ incomparable insight-with which 
he obtained the advantage not only over Desclrtes 
but over all who had philosophised^up to his toe !!' 
that consciousness is only an accident of mental 

Ittribut 1r; '"' ""' "^ necessary and essential 
attribute, that consequently what we call conscious- 
ness only constitutes a state of our spiritual and 
psychical world (perhaps a morbid state) and s>". 
from be^ng that ^orld ltsel/:-is there anythfg 
German in this thought, the profundity of Ch ch 
has not as yet been exhausted? Is there reason 


to think that a person of the Latin race would 
not readily have stumbled on this reversal of the 
apparent ? — for it is a reversal. Let us call to mind 
secondly, the immense note of interrogation which 
Kant wrote after the notion of causality. Not that 
he at all doubted its legitimacy, like Hume: on 
the contrary, he began cautiously to define the 
domain within which this notion has significance 
generally (we have not even yet got finished with 
the marking out of these limits). Let us take 
thirdly, the astonishing hit of Hegel, who stuck at 
no logical usage or fastidiousness when he ventured 
to teach that the conceptions of kinds develop out 
of one another : with which theory the thinkers in 
Europe were prepared for the last great scientific 
movement, for Darwinism — for without Hegel there 
would have been no Darwin. Is there anything 
German in this Hegelian innovation which first 
introduced the decisive conception of evolution 
into science? — Yes, without doubt we feel that 
there is something of ourselves " discovered " and 
divined in all three cases ; we are thankful for it, 
and at the same time surprised; each of these 
three principles is a thoughtful piece of German 
self-confession, self-understanding, and self-know- 
ledge. We feel with Leibnitz that "our inner 
world is far richer, ampler, and more concealed " ; 
as Germans we are doubtful, like Kant, about the 
ultimate validity of scientific knowledge of nature, 
and in general about whatever can be known 
caiisaliter : the knowable as such now appears to us 
of less worth. We Germans should still have been 
Hegelians, even though there had never been a 


Hegel, inasmuch as we (in contradistinction to all 
Latin peoples) instinctively attribute to becoming, 
to evolution, a profounder significance and higher 
value than to that which " is " — we hardly believe 
at all in the validity of the concept "being." 
This is all the more the case because we are not 
inclined to concede to our human logic that it is 
logic in itself, that it is the only kind of logic (we 
should rather like, on the contrary, to convince 
ourselves that it is only a special case, and perhaps 
one of the strangest and most stupid). — A fourth 
question would be whether also Schopenhauer with 
his Pessimism, that is to say, the problem of 
the worth of existence^ had to be a German. I 
think not. The event after which this problem 
was to be expected with certainty, so that an 
astronomer of the soul could have calculated the 
day and the hour for it — namely, the decay of the 
belief in the Christian God, the victory of scientific 
atheism, — is a universal European event, in which 
all races are to have their share of service and 
honour. On the contrary, it has to be ascribed 
precisely to the Germans — those with whom 
Schopenhauer was contemporary, — that they de- 
layed this victory of atheism longest, and en- 
dangered it most. Hegel especially was its retarder 
par excellence, in virtue of the grandiose attempt 
which he made to persuade us at the very last 
of the divinity of existence, with the help of our 
sixth sense, " the historical sense." As philosopher, 
Schopenhauer was the first avowed and infllexible 
atheist we Germans have had : his hostility to 
Hegel had here its motive. The non-divinity 


of existence was regarded by him as something 
understood, palpable, indisputable ; he always lost 
his philosophical composure and got into a passion 
when he saw anyone hesitate and beat about the 
bush here. It is at this point that his thorough 
uprightness of character comes in : unconditional, 
honest atheism is precisely the preliminary condition 
for his raising the problem, as a final and hardwon 
victory of the European conscience, as the most 
prolific act of two thousand years' discipline to 
truth, which in the end no longer tolerates the 
lie of the belief in a God. . . . One sees what has 
really gained the victory over the Christian God — , 
Christian morality itself, the conception of veracity, 
taken ever more strictly, the confessional subtlety 
of the Christian conscience, translated and sub- 
limated to the scientific conscience, to intellectual 
purity at any price. To look upon nature as if it 
were a proof of the goodness and care of a God ; 
to interpret history in honour of a divine reason, 
as a constant testimony to a moral order in the 
world and a moral final purpose ; to explain 
personal experiences as pious men have long 
enough explained them, as if everything were a 
dispensation or intimation of Providence, some- 
thing planned and sent on behalf of the salvation 
of the soul : all that is no^ past, it has conscience 
against it, it is regarded by all the more acute 
consciences as disreputable and dishonourable, 
as mendaciousness, femininism, weakness, and 
cowardice, — by virtue of this severity, if by any- 
thing, we are good Europeans, the heirs of Europe's 
longest and bravest self-conquest. When we thus 


reject the Christian interpretation, and condemn 
its "significance" as a forgery, we are immediately 
confronted in a striking manner with the Schopen- 
hauerian question : Has existence then a significance 
at all? — the question which will require a couple of 
centuries even to be completely heard in all its 
profundity. Schopenhauer's own answer to this 

question was— if I may be forgiven for saying so 

a premature, juvenile reply, a mere compromise, 
a stoppage and sticking in the very same Christian- 
ascetic, moral perspectives, the belief in which had 
got notice to quit along with the belief in God. 
But he raised the question— as a good European, 
as we have said, and not as a German.— Or did the 
Germans prove at least by the way in which they 
seized on the Schopenhauerian question, their 
inner connection and relationship to him, their 
preparation for his problem, and their need of it ? 
That there has been thinking and printing even 
in Germany since Schopenhauer's time on the 
problem raised by him,— it was late enough!— 
does not at all suffice to enable us to decide in 
fLivour of this closer relationship; one could, on 
the contrary, lay great stress on the peculiar awk- 
wardness of this post-Schopenhauerian Pessimism 
—Germans evidently do not behave themselves 
here as in their element. I do not at all allude 
here to Eduard von Hartmann ; on the contrary, 
my old suspicion is not vanished even at present 
that he is too clever for us ; I mean to say that as 
arrant rogue from the very first, he did not perhaps 
make merry solely over German Pessimism— and 
that in the end he might probably "bequeathe" 


to them the truth as to how far a person could 
bamboozle the Germans themselves in the age of 
bubble companies. But further, are we perhaps 
to reckon to the honour of Germans, the old 
humming-top, Bahnsen, who all his life spun about 
with the greatest pleasure around his realistically 
dialectic misery and " personal ill-luck," — was that 
German? (In passing I recommend his writings 
for the purpose for which I myself have used them, 
as anti-pessimistic fare, especially on account of his 
elegantia psychologica, which, it seems to me, could 
alleviate even the most constipated body and soul). 
Or would it be proper to count such dilettanti and 
old maids as the mawkish apostle of virginity, 
Mainlander, among the genuine Germans? After 
all he was probably a Jew (all Jews become 
mawkish when they moralise). Neither Bahnsen, 
nor Mainlander, nor even Eduard von Hartmann, 
give us a reliable grasp of the question whether the 
pessimism of Schopenhauer (his frightened glance 
into an undeified world, which has become stupid, 
blind, deranged and problematic, his honourable 
fright) was not only an exceptional case among 
Germans, but a German event : while everything 
else which stands in the foreground, like our 
valiant politics and our joyful Jingoism (which 
decidedly enough regards everything with refer- 
ence to a principle sufficiently unphilosophical : 
^* Deutschland, Deutschland, fiber A lies, ^'* conse- 
quently sub specie speciei, namely, the German 
species), testifies very plainly to the contrary. No ! 

* ^'^ Germany, Germany, above alP' : the first line of the 
German national song. — Tr. 


The Germans of to-day are not pessimists ! And 
Schopenhauer was a pessimist, I repeat it once 
more, as a good European, and not as a German. 

The Peasant Revolt of the Spirit. — We Europeans 
find ourselves in view of an immense world of ruins, 
where some things still tower aloft, while other 
objects stand mouldering and dismal, where most 
things however already lie on the ground, pic- 
turesque enough — where were there ever finer 
ruins? — overgrown with weeds, large and small. 
It is the Church which is this city of decay: we 
see the religious organisation of Christianity 
shaken to its deepest foundations. The belief in 
God is overthrown, the belief in the Christian 
ascetic ideal is now fighting its last fight. Such a 
long and solidly built work as Christianity — it was 
the last construction of the Romans ! — could not 
of course be demolished all at once ; every sort 
of earthquake had to shake it, every sort of spirit 
which perforates, digs, gnaws and moulders had 
to assist in the work of destruction. But that 
which is strangest is that those who have exerted 
themselves most to retain and preserve Christianity, 
have been precisely those who did most to destroy 
it, — the Germans. It seems that the Germans do 
not understand the essence of a Church. Are they 
not spiritual enough, or not distrustful enough to 
do so? In any case the structure of the Church 
rests on a southern freedom and liberality of spirit, 
and similarly on a southern suspicion of nature, 
man, and spirit, — it rests on a knowledge of man 


an experience of man, entirely different from what 
the north has had. The Lutheran Reformation 
in all its length and breadth was the indignation 
of the simple against something "complicated." 
To speak cautiously, it was a coarse, honest mis- 
understanding, in which much is to be forgiven, — 
people did not understand the mode of expression 
of a victorious Church, and only saw corruption ; 
they misunderstood the noble scepticism, the luxury 
of scepticism and toleration which every victorious, 
self-confident power permits. . . . One overlooks 
the fact readily enough at present that as regards 
all cardinal questions concerning power Luther 
was badly endowed ; he was fatally short-sighted, 
superficial and imprudent — and above all, as a 
man sprung from the people, he lacked all the 
hereditary qualities of a ruling caste, and all the 
instincts for power ; so that his work, his intention 
to restore the work of the Romans, merely became 
involuntarily and unconsciously the commencement 
of a work of destruction. He unravelled, he tore 
asunder with honest rage, where the old spider had 
woven longest and most carefully. He gave the 
sacred books into the hands of everyone, — they 
thereby got at last into the hands of the philologists, 
that is to say, the annihilators of every belief based 
upon books. He demolished the conception of 
"the Church" in that he repudiated the belief in 
the inspiration of the Councils : for only under the 
supposition that the inspiring spirit which had 
founded the Church still lives in it, still builds it, 
still goes on building its house, does the conception 
of " the Church " retain its power. He gave back 


to the priest sexual intercourse : but three-fourths 
of the reverence of which the people (and above 
all the women of the people) are capable, rests on 
the belief that an exceptional man in this respect 
will also be an exceptional man in other respects. 
It is precisely here that the popular belief in some- 
thing superhuman in man, in a miracle, in the 
saving God in man, has its most subtle and insidi- 
ous advocate. After Luther had given a wife to 
the priest, he had to take from him auricular confes- 
sion ; that was psychologically right : but thereby he 
practically did away with the Christian priest him- 
self, whose profoundest utility has ever consisted! 
m his being a sacred ear, a silent well, and a grave' 
for secrets. « Every man his own priest "—behind 
such formula and their bucolic slyness, there was 
concealed in Luther the profoundest hatred of 
"higher men," and of the rule of "higher men," as 
the Church had conceived them. Luther disowned 
an ideal which he did not know how to attain, 
while he seemed to combat and detest the degenera- 
tion thereof. As a matter of fact, he, the impossible 
monk, repudiated the rule of the homines religiosi • 
he consequently brought about precisely the same 
thing within the ecclesiastical social order that 
he combated so impatiently in the civic order,— 
namely a "peasant insurrection."— As to all that 
grew out of his Reformation afterwards, good and 
bad, which can at present be almost counted up,— 
who would be naive enough to praise or blame 
Luther simply on account of these results? He 
is innocent of all; he knew not what he did. 
The art of making the European spirit shallower 


especially in the north, or more good-natured, if 
people would rather hear it designated by a moral 
expression, undoubtedly took a clever step m 
advance in the Lutheran Reformation ; and similarly 
there grew out of it the mobility and disquietude 
of the spirit, its thirst for independence, its belief 
in the right to freedom, and its " naturalness." If 
people wish to ascribe to the Reformation in the 
last instance the merit of having prepared and 
favoured that which we at present honour as 
« modern science," they must of course add that it 
is also accessory to bringing about the degenera- 
tion of the modern scholar, with his lack of 
reverence, of shame and of profundity ; and that 
it is also responsible for all nafve candour 
and plain-dealing in matters of knowledge, in 
short for the plebeianism of the spirit which is 
peculiar to the last two centuries, and from which 
even pessimism hitherto, has not in any way 
delivered us. " Modern ideas" also belong to this 
peasant insurrection of the north against the colder, 
more ambiguous, more suspicious spirit of the south, 
which has built itself its greatest monument in the 
Christian Church. Let us not forget in the end 
what a Church is, and especially in contrast to every 
"State"- a Church is above all an authoritative 
organisation which secures to the most spiritual 
men the highest rank, and believes in the power of 
spirituality so far as to forbid all grosser appliances 
of authority. Through this alone the Church is 
under all circumstances a nobler institution than 
the State.— 




Vengeance on Intellect, and other Backgrounds of 
i^^w/Z/j.—Morality— where do you think it has 
Its most dangerous and rancorous advocates?— 
There, for example, is an ill-constituted man, who 
does not possess enough of intellect to be able to 
take pleasure in it, and just enough of culture to 
be aware of the fact ; bored, satiated, and a self- 
despiser ; besides being cheated unfortunately by 
some hereditary property out of the last consolation, 
the "blessing of labour," the self-forgetfulness in 
the " day's work " ; one who is thoroughly ashamed 
of his existence— perhaps also harbouring some 
vices,— and who on the other hand (by means of 
books to which he has no right, or more intellectual 
society than he can digest), cannot help vitiating 
himself more and more, and making himself vain 
and irritable : such a thoroughly poisoned man— 
for intellect becomes poison, culture becomes 
poison, possession becomes poison, solitude becomes 
poison, to such ill-constituted beings— gets at last 
into a habitual state of vengeance and inclination 
for vengeance. . . . What do you think he finds 
necessary, absolutely necessary in order to give 
himself the appearance in his own eyes of superi- 
ority over more intellectual men, so as to give 
himself the delight of perfect revenge, at least in 
imagination? It is always morality that he 
requires, one may wager on it ; always the big moral 
words, always the high-sounding words: justice, 
wisdom, holiness, virtue ; always the Stoicism of 
gestures (how well Stoicism hides what one does not 


possess!); always the mantle of wise silence, of 
affability, of gentleness, and whatever else the 
idealist-mantle is called, in which the incurable 
self-despisers and also the incurably conceited walk 
about. Let me not be misunderstood : out of such 
born enemies of the spirit there arises now and then 
the rare specimen of humanity who is honoured 
by the people under the name of saint or sage : it 
is out of such men that there arise those prodigies 
of morality that make a noise, and make history, — 
St Augustine was one of these men. Fear of the 
intellect, vengeance on the intellect — Oh ! how often 
have these powerfully impelling vices become the 
root of virtues ! Yea, virtue itself ! — And asking 
the question among ourselves, even the philosopher's 
pretension to wisdom, which has occasionally been 
made here and there on the earth, the maddest 
and most immodest of all pretensions, — has it not 
always been above all in India as well as in Greece, 
a means of concealment ? Sometimes, perhaps, from 
the point of view of education which hallows so 
many lies, it is a tender regard for growing and 
evolving persons, for disciples who have often to be 
guarded against themselves by means of the belief 
in a person (by means of an error). In most cases, 
however, it is a means of concealment for a philo- 
sopher, behind which he seeks protection, owing to 
exhaustion, age, chilliness, or hardening; as a feeling 
of the approaching end, as the sagacity of the instinct 
which animals have before their death, — they go 
apart, remain at rest, choose solitude, creep into 
caves, become wise. . . . What ? Wisdom a means of 
concealment of the philosopher from — intellect ? — 



Two Kinds of Causes which are Coiifsunded.— 
It seems to me one of my most essential steps and 
advances that I have learned to distinguish the 
cause of an action generally from the cause of an 
action in a particular manner, say, in this direction, 
with this aim. The first kind of cause is a quantum' 
of stored-up force, which waits to be used in some 
manner, for some purpose; the second kind of 
cause, on the contrary, is something quite unim- 
portant in comparison with the first, an insignifi- 
cant hazard for the most part, in conformity with 
which the quantum of force in question " discharges " 
itself in some unique and definite manner : the 
lucifer-match in relation to the barrel of gunpowder 
Among those insignificant hazards and lucifer- 
matches I count all the so-called "aims," and 
similarly the still more so-called " occupations " of 
people : they are relatively optional, arbitrary, and 
almost mdififerent in relation to the immense 
quantum of force which presses on, as we have 
said, to be used up in any way whatever. One 
generally looks at the matter in a different manner : 
one is accustomed to see the impelling force pre- 
cisely in the aim (object, calling, &c.), according to 
a primeval error,— but it is only the directing force • 
the steersman and the steam have thereby been 
confounded. And yet it is not even always a 
steersman, the directing force. ... Is the "aim" 
the "purpose," not often enough only an ex- 
tenuating pretext, an additional self-blinding of 
conceit, which does not wish it to be said that the 


^\-^ follows the stream into which it has accidentally 
run ? That it " wishes " to go that way, because it 
must go that way? That it has a direction, sure 
enough, but— not a steersman? We still require 
a criticism of the conception of " purpose." 


The Problem of the Actor. — The problem of the 
actor has disquieted me the longest ; I was uncer- 
tain (and am sometimes so still) whether one could 
not get at the dangerous conception of " artist " — 
a conception hitherto treated with unpardonable 
leniency — from this point of view. Falsity with a 
good conscience ; delight in dissimulation breaking 
forth as power, pushing aside, overflowing, and 
sometimes extinguishing the so-called "character"; 
the inner longing to play a rdle, to assume a mask, 
to put on an appearance ; a surplus of capacity for 
adaptations of every kind, which can no longer 
gratify themselves in the service of the nearest 
and narrowest utility: all that perhaps does not 
pertain solely to the actor in himself? . . . Such an 
instinct would develop most readily in families of 
the lower class of the people, who have had to pass 
their lives in absolute dependence, under shifting 
pressure and constraint, who (to accommodate 
themselves to their conditions, to adapt themselves 
always to new circumstances) had again and again 
to pass themselves off and represent themselves as 
different persons, — thus having gradually quali- 
fied themselves to adjust the mantle to every wind, 
thereby almost becoming the mantle itself, as 


masters of the embodied and incarnated art of 
eternally playing the game of hide and seek, which 
one calls mimicry among the animals : — until at last 
this ability, stored up from generation to genera- 
tion, has become domineering, irrational and 
intractable, till as instinct it begins to command 
the other instincts, and begets the actor and 
"artist" (the buffoon, the pantaloon, the Jack- 
Pudding, the fool, and the clown in the first place, 
also the classical type of servant, Gil Bias : for in 
such types one has the precursors of the artist, 
and often enough even of the "genius"). Also 
under higher social conditions there grows under 
similar pressure a similar species of men : only the 
histrionic instinct is there for the most part held 
strictly in check by another instinqt, for example, 
among "diplomatists";— for the rest, I should think 
that it would always be open to a good diplomat- 
ist to become a good actor on the stage, provided 
his dignity "allowed" it. As regards the Jews, 
however, the adaptable people par excellence, we 
should, in conformity to this line of thought, 
expect to see among them a world-wide historical 
institution at the very first, for the rearing of 
actors, a proper breeding-place for actors; and 
in fact the question is very pertinent just now: 
what good actor at present is not—2L Jew? The 
Jew also, as a born literary man, as the actual 
ruler of the European press, exercises this power 
on the basis of his histrionic capacity: for the 
literary man is essentially an actor, — he plays 
the part of "expert," of " specialist." — Finally 
women. If we consider the whole history of 


women, are they not obliged first of all, and above 
all to be actresses? If we listen to doctors who have 
hypnotised women, or, finally, if we love them — 
and let ourselves be " hypnotised " by them,— what 
is always divulged thereby? That they "give 
themselves airs," even when they— "give them- 
selves." . . . Woman is so artistic . . . 

My Belief in the Virilising of Europe.— V^Q owe 
it to Napoleon (and not at all to the French 
Revolution, which had in view the " fraternity " of 
the nations, and the florid interchange of good 
graces among people generally) that several warlike 
centuries, which have not had their like in past 
history, may now follow one another — in short, that 
we have entered upon the classical age of war, war 
at the same time scientific and popular, on the 
grandest scale (as regards means, talents and 
discipline), to which all coming millenniums will 
look back with envy and awe as a work of perfec- 
tion :— for the national movement out ot which 
this martial glory springs, is only the counter-^^^^ 
against Napoleon, and would not have existed 
without him. To him, consequently, one will one 
day be able to attribute the fact that man in Europe 
has again got the upper hand of the merchant and 
the Philistine; perhaps even of "woman" also, 
who has become pampered owing to Christianity 
and the extravagant spirit of the eighteenth 
century, and still more owing to " modern ideas." 
Napoleon, who saw in modern ideas, and accord- 
ingly in civilisation, something like a personal 


enemy, has by this hostility proved himself one of 
the greatest continuators of the Renaissance : he 
has brought to the surface a whole block of the 
ancient character, the decisive block perhaps, the 
block of granite. And who knows but that this 
block of ancient character will in the end get the 
upper hand of the national movement, and will 
have to make itself in 2i positive sense the heir and 
continuator of Napoleon : — who, as one knows, 
wanted one Europe, which was to be mistress of 
the world. — 

How each Sex has its Prejudice about Love. — 
Notwithstanding all the concessions which I am 
inclined to make to the monogamic prejudice, I 
will never admit that we should speak of equal 
rights in the love of man and woman : there are 
no such equal rights. The reason is that man and 
woman understand something different by the 
term love, — and it belongs to the conditions of love 
in both sexes that the one sex does not presuppose 
the same feeling, the same conception of " love," in 
the other sex. What woman understands by love 
is clear enough: complete surrender (not merely 
devotion) of soul and body, without any motive, 
without any reservation, rather with shame and 
terror at the thought of a devotion restricted by 
clauses or associated with conditions. In this 
absence of conditions her love is precisely a faith : 
woman has no other. — Man, when he loves a 
woman, wants precisely this love from her; he 
is consequently, as regards himself, furthest re- 
moved from the prerequisites of feminine love; 


granted, however, that there should also be men 
to whom on their side the demand for complete 
devotion is not unfamiliar, — well, they are really — 
not men. A man who loves like a woman becomes 
thereby a slave ; a woman, however, who loves like 
a woman becomes thereby a more perfect woman. 
. . . The passion of woman in its unconditional 
renunciation of its own rights presupposes in fact 
that there does not exist on the other side an equal 
pathos, an equal desire for renunciation : for if both 
renounced themselves out of love, there would 
result — well, I don't know what, perhaps a horror 
vacui? Woman wants to be taken and accepted 
as a possession, she wishes to be merged in the 
conceptions of " possession " and " possessed " ; 
consequently she wants one who takes, who does 
not offer and give himself away, but who reversely 
is rather to be made richer in "himself" — by the 
increase of power, happiness and faith which the 
woman herself gives to him. Woman gives herself, 
man takes her. — I do not think one will get 
over this natural contrast by any social contract, 
or with the very best will to do justice, however 
desirable it may be to avoid bringing the severe, 
frightful, enigmatical, and unmoral elements of this 
antagonism constantly before our eyes. For love, 
regarded as complete, great, and full, is nature, and 
as nature, is to all eternity something "unmoral." 
— Fidelity is accordingly included in woman's love, 
it follows from the definition thereof; with man 
fidelity may readily result in consequence of his 
love, perhaps as gratitude or idiosyncrasy of taste, 
and so-called elective affinity, but it does not 


belong to the essence of his love — and indeed so 
little, that one might almost be entitled to speak 
of a natural opposition between love and fidelity 
in man, whose love is just a desire to possess, and 
not a renunciation and giving away ; the desire to 
possess, however, comes to an end every time with 
the possession. ... As a matter of fact it is the 
more subtle and jealous thirst for possession in a 
man (who is rarely and tardily convinced of having 
this " possession "), which makes his love continue ; 
in that case it is even possible that his love may 
increase after the surrender, — he does not readily 
own that a woman has nothing more to " surrender " 
to him. — 

The Anchorite Speaks. — The art of associating 
with men rests essentially on one's skilfulness 
(which presupposes long exercise) in accepting a 
repast, in taking a repast, in the cuisine of which 
one has no confidence. Provided one comes to the 
table with the hunger of a wolf everything is easy 
("the worst society gives thee experience'' — as 
Mephistopheles says) ; but one has not always this 
wolf s-hunger when one needs it ! Alas I how diffi- 
cult are our fellow-men to digest ! First principle : 
to stake one's courage as in a misfortune, to seize 
boldly, to admire oneself at the same time, to take 
one's repugnance between one's teeth, to cram down 
one's disgust. Second principle: to "improve" one's 
fellow-man, by praise for example, so that he may 
begin to sweat out his self-complacency ; or to seize 
a tuft of his good or " interesting " qualities, and 
pull at it till one gets his whole virtue out, and can 


put him under the folds of it. Third principle: 
self-hypnotism. To fix one's eye on the object 
of one's intercourse as on a glass knob, until, ceas- 
ing to feel pleasure or pain thereat, one falls asleep 
unobserved, becomes rigid, and acquires a fixed 
pose: a household recipe used in married life and 
in friendship, well tested and prized as indispens- 
able, but not yet scientifically formulated. Its 
proper name is — patience.— 

The Anchorite Speaks once more.—'^^ also have 
intercourse with "men," we also modestly put on 
the clothes in which people know us {as such), 
respect us and seek us ; and we thereby mingle in 
society, that is to say, among the disguised who 
do not wish to be so called ; we also do like a 
prudent masqueraders, and courteously dismiss all 
curiosity which has not reference merely to our 
"clothes" There are however other modes and 
artifices for "going about" among men and associ- 
ating with them: for example, as a ghost,-which 
is very advisable when one wants to scare them, 
and get rid of them easily. An example : a person 
grasps at us, and is unable to seize us. That 
frightens him. Or we enter by a closed door. Or 
when the lights are extinguished. Or after we are 
dead The latter is the artifice oi posthumous men 
par excellence, ("What?" said such a one once im- 
patiently, "do you think we should d/ight m en- 
during this strangeness, coldness, death-stillness 
^ about us, all this subterranean, hidden, dim, undis- 
covered solitude, which is called life with us, and 


might just as well be called death, if we were not 
conscious of what tvill arise out of us, — and that 
only after our death shall we attain to our life and 
become living, ah! very living! we posthumous 
men ! "— ) 

At the Sight of a Learned Book. — We do not 
belong to those who only get their thoughts from 
books, or at the prompting of books, — it is our 
custom to think in the open air, walking, leaping, 
climbing, or dancing on lonesome mountains by 
preference, or close to the sea, where even the paths 
become thoughtful. Our first question concerning 
the value of a book, a man, or a piece of music is : 
Can it walk? or still better: Can it dance? . . . 
We seldom read ; we do not read the worse for that 
— oh, how quickly we divine how a person has 
arrived at his thoughts : — if it is by sitting before 
an ink-bottle with compressed belly and head bent 
over the paper : oh, how quickly we are then done 
with his book! The constipated bowels betray 
themselves, one may wager on it, just as the atmo- 
sphere of the room, the ceiling of the room, the 
smallness of the room, betray themselves. — These 
were my feelings when closing a straightforward, 
learned book, thankful, very thankful, but also 
relieved. ... In the book of a learned man there is 
almost always something oppressive and oppressed : 
the "specialist" comes to light somewhere, his 
ardour, his seriousness, his wrath, his over-estimation 
of the nook in which he sits and spins, his hump — 
every specialist has his hump. A learned book 
also always mirrors a distorted soul : every trade 


distorts. Look at our friends again with whom 
we have spent our youth, after they have taken 
possession of their science : alas ! how the reverse 
has always taken place ! Alas ! how they them- 
selves are now for ever occupied and possessed by 
their science ! Grown into their nook, crumpled into 
unrecognisability, constrained, deprived of their 
equilibrium, emaciated and angular everywhere, 
perfectly round only in one place, — we are moved 
and silent when we find them so. Every handi- 
craft, granting even that it has a golden floor,* has 
also a leaden ceiling above it, which presses and 
presses on the soul, till it is pressed into a strange 
and distorted shape. There is nothing to alter 
here. We need not think that it is at all possible 
to obviate this disfigurement by any educational 
artifice whatever. Every kind of perfection is pur- 
chased at a high price on earth, where everything 
is perhaps purchased too dear; one is an expert 
in one's department at the price of being also a 
victim of one's department. But you want to have 
it otherwise — "more reasonable," above all more 
convenient — is it not so, my dear contemporaries ? 
Very well ! But then you will also immediately 
get something different : instead of the craftsman 
and expert, you will get the literary man, the 
versatile, " many-sided " litterateur, who to be sure 
lacks the hump — not taking account of the hump 
or bow which he makes before you as the shopman 
of the intellect and the " porter " of culture — , the 
litterateur, who is really nothing, but " represents " 

* An allusion to the German Proverb, "Handwerk hat 
einen goldenen Boden." — Tr. 


almost everything : he plays and " represents " the 
expert, he also takes it upon himself in all modesty 
to see that he is paid, honoured and celebrated in 
this position. — No, my learned friends! I bless 
you even on account of your humps ! And also 
because like me you despise the litterateurs and 
parasites of culture! And because you do not 
know how to make merchandise of your intellect ! 
And have so many opinions which cannot be ex- 
pressed in money value ! And because you do not 
represent anything which you are not ! Because 
your sole desire is to become masters of your craft ; 
because you reverence every kind of mastership and 
ability, and repudiate with the most relentless 
scorn everything of a make-believe, half-genuine, 
dressed-up, virtuoso, demagogic, histrionic nature 
in litteris et artibus — all that which does not con- 
vince you by its absolute genuineness of discipline 
and preparatory training, or cannot stand your 
test ! (Even genius does not help a person to get 
over such a defect, however well it may be able 
to deceive with regard to it : one understands this 
if one has once looked closely at our most gifted 
painters and musicians, — who almost without ex- 
ception, can artificially and supplementarily appro- 
priate to themselves (by means of artful inventions 
of style, make-shifts, and even principles), the 
appearance of that genuineness, that solidity of 
training and culture ; to be sure, without thereby 
deceiving themselves, without thereby imposing 
perpetual silence on their bad consciences. For 
you know of course that all great modern artists 
suffer from bad consciences ? . . .) 



How one has to Distinguish first of all in 
Works (?/"y4^/'.— Everything that is thought, versi- 
fied, painted and composed, yea, even built and 
moulded, belongs either to monologic art, or to 
art before witnesses. Under the latter there is also 
to be included the apparently monologic art which 
involves the belief in God, the whole lyric of prayer; 
because for a pious man there is no solitude, — we, 
the godless, have been the first to devise this inven- 
tion. I know of no profounder distinction in all the 
perspective of the artist than this: Whether he 
looks at his growing work of art (at " himself — ") 
with the eye of the witness ; or whether he " has 
forgotten the world," as is the essential thing in all 
monologic art, — it rests on forgetting^ it is the music 
of forgetting. 


The Cynic Speaks. — My objections to Wagner's 
music are physiological objections. Why should I 
therefore begin by disguising them under aesthetic 
formulae? My "point" is that I can no longer 
breathe freely when this music begins to operate 
on me ; my foot immediately becomes indignant 
at it and rebels : for what it needs is time, dance 
and march ; it demands first of all from music the 
ecstasies which are in good walking, striding, leap- 
ing and dancing. But do not my stomach, my 
heart, my blood and my bowels also protest? 
Do I not become hoarse unawares under its 
influence? And then I ask myself what my 
body really wants from music generally. I be- 


lieve it wants to have relief: so that all animal 
functions should be accelerated by means of light, 
bold, unfettered, self-assured rhythms; so that 
brazen, leaden life should be gilded by means of 
golden, good, tender harmonies. My melancholy 
would fain rest its head in the hiding-places and 
abysses oi perfection : for this reason I need music. 
What do I care for the drama ! What do I care 
for the spasms of its moral ecstasies, in which the 
"people" have their satisfaction! What do I 
care for the whole pantomimic hocus-pocus of the 
actor ! . . . It will now be divined that I am 
essentially anti-theatrical at heart,— but Wagner on 
the contrary, was essentially a man of the stage and 
an actor, the most enthusiastic mummer-worshipper 
that has ever existed, even among musicians ! . . . 
And let it be said in passing that if Wagner's 
theory was that "drama is the object, and music is 
only the means to K—hX^ practice on the contrary 
from beginning to end has been to the effect that 
"attitude is the object, drama and even music can 
never be anything else but means to thisr Music 
as a means of elucidating, strengthening and inten- 
sifying dramatic poses and the actor's appeal to the 
senses, and Wagnerian drama only an opportunity 
for a number of dramatic attitudes! Wagner 
possessed, along with all other instincts, the dicta- 
torial instinct of a great actor in all and everything, 
and as has been said, also as a musician.— I once 
made this clear with some trouble to a thorough- 
going Wagnerian, and I had reasons for adding :— 
"Do be a little more honest with yourself: we are 
not now in the theatre. In the theatre we are only 


honest in the mass ; as individuals we lie, we belie 
even ourselves. We leave ourselves at home when 
we go to the theatre ; we there renounce the right 
to our own tongue and choice, to our taste, and 
even to our courage as we possess it and practise 
it within our own four walls in relation to God and 
man. No one takes his finest taste in art into the 
theatre with him, not even the artist who works 
for the theatre : there one is people, public, 
herd, woman, Pharisee, voting animal, democrat, 
neighbour, and fellow-creature ; there even the 
most personal conscience succumbs to the levelling 
charm of the 'great multitude'; there stupidity 
operates as wantonness and contagion ; there the 
neighbour rules, there one becomes a neighbour. . . ." 
(I have forgotten to mention what my enlightened 
Wagnerian answered to my physiological objec- 
tions : "So the fact is that you are really not 
healthy enough for our music ? " — ) 

Juxtapositions in us. — Must we not acknowledge 
to ourselves, we artists, that there is a strange 
discrepancy in us ; that on the one hand our taste, 
and on the other hand our creative power, keep 
apart in an extraordinary manner, continue apart, 
and have a separate growth ; — I mean to say that 
they have entirely different gradations and tempi 
of age, youth, maturity, mellowness and rotten- 
ness ? So that, for example, a musician could all 
his life create things which contradicted all that 
his ear and heart, spoilt for listening, prized, 
relished and preferred : — he would not even re- 


quire to be aware of the contradiction ! As an 
almost painfully regular experience shows, a 
person's taste can easily outgrow the taste of 
his power, even without the latter being thereby 
paralysed or checked in its productivity. The 
reverse, however, can also to some extent take 
place, — and it is to this especially that I should 
like to direct the attention of artists. A constant 
producer, a man who is a " mother " in the grand 
sense of the term, one who no longer knows or 
hears of anything except pregnancies and child- 
beds of his spirit, who has no time at all to reflect 
and make comparisons with regard to himself and 
his work, who is also no longer inclined to exercise 
his taste, but simply forgets it, letting it take its 
chance of standing, lying or falling, — perhaps such 
a man at last produces works on which he is 
then quite unfit to pass a judgment: so that he 
speaks and thinks foolishly about them and about 
himself. This seems to me almost the normal 
condition with fruitful artists, — nobody knows a 
child worse than its parents — and the rule applies 
even (to take an immense example) to the entire 
Greek world of poetry and art, which was never 
" conscious " of what it had done. . . . 

What is Romanticism ? — It will be remembered 
perhaps, at least among my friends, that at first 
I assailed the modern world with some gross 
errors and exaggerations, but at any rate with hope 
in my heart. I recognised — who knows from what 
personal experiences? — the philosophical pessimism 


of the nineteenth century as the symptom of a 
higher power of thought, a more daring courage 
and a more triumphant plenitude of life than had 
been characteristic of the eighteenth century, the 
age of Hume, Kant, Condillac, and the sensualists : 
so that the tragic view of things seemed to me the 
peculiar luxury of our culture, its most precious, 
noble, and dangerous mode of prodigality ; but 
•f nevertheless, in view of its overflowing wealth, a 
justifiable luxury. In the same way I interpreted 
for myself German music as the expression of a 
Dionysian power in the German soul : I thought 
I heard in it the earthquake by means of which a 
primeval force that had been imprisoned for ages 
was finally finding vent — indifferent as to whether 
all that usually calls itself culture was thereby 
made to totter. It is obvious that I then mis- 
understood what constitutes the veritable character 
both of philosophical pessimism and of German 
music, — namely, their Romanticism. What is 
Romanticism? Every art and every philosophy 
may be regarded as a healing and helping appli- 
ance in the service of growing, struggling life : 
they always presuppose suffering and sufferers. 
But there are two kinds of sufferers : on the one 
hand those that suffer from overflowing vitality ^ who 
need Dionysian art, and require a tragic view and 
insight into life ; and on the other hand those who 
suffer from reduced vitality, who seek repose, quiet- 
ness, calm seas, and deliverance from themselves 
through art or knowledge, or else intoxication, 
spasm, bewilderment and madness. All Romanti- 
cism in art and knowledge responds to the twofold 


craving of the latter ; to them Schopenhauer as well 
as Wagner responded (and responds), — to name 
those most celebrated and decided romanticists, 
who were then misunderstood by me {not however to 
their disadvantage, as may be reasonably conceded 
to me). The being richest in overflowing vitality, 
the Dionysian God and man, may not only allow 
himself the spectacle of the horrible and question- 
able, but even the fearful deed itself, and all the 
luxury of destruction, disorganisation and negation. 
With him evil, senselessness and ugliness seem as 
it were licensed, in consequence of the overflowing 
plenitude of procreative, fructifying power, which 
can convert every desert into a luxuriant orchard. 
Conversely, the greatest sufferer, the man poorest 
in vitality, would have most need of mildness, peace 
and kindliness in thought and action : he would 
need, if possible, a God who is specially the God 
of the sick, a " Saviour " ; similarly he would have 
need of logic, the abstract intelligibility of exist- 
ence — for logic soothes and gives confidence ; — in 
short he would need a certain warm, fear-dispelling 
narrowness and imprisonment within optimistic 
horizons. In this manner I gradually began to 
understand Epicurus, the opposite of a Dionysian 
pessimist; — in a similar manner also the "Christian," 
who in fact is only a type of Epicurean, and like 
him essentially a romanticist : — and my vision has 
always become keener in tracing that most diffi- 
cult and insidious of all forms of retrospective 
inference, in which most mistakes have been made — 
the inference from the work to its author from 
the deed to its doer, from the ideal to him who 


needs it, from every mode of thinking and valuing 
to the imperative want behind it. — In regard to all 
aesthetic values I now avail myself of this radical 
distinction : I ask in every single case, " Has hunger 
or superfluity become creative here ? " At the out- 
set another distinction might seem to recommend 
itself more — it is far more conspicuous, — namely, 
to have in view whether the desire for rigidity, for 
perpetuation, for being is the cause of the creating, 
or the desire for destruction, for change, for the 
new, for the future — for becoming. But when looked 
at more carefully, both these kinds of desire prove 
themselves ambiguous, and are explicable precisely 
according to the before-mentioned, and, as it seems 
to me, rightly preferred scheme. The desire for 
destruction, change and becoming, may be the 
expression of overflowing power, pregnant with 
futurity (my terminus for this is of course the word 
"Dionysian"); but it may also be the hatred of the 
ill-constituted, destitute and unfortunate, which 
destroys, and must destroy, because the enduring, 
yea, all that endures, in fact all being, excites and 
provokes it. To understand this emotion we have 
but to look closely at our anarchists. The will 
to perpetuation requires equally a double inter- 
pretation. It may on the one hand proceed from 
gratitude and love : — art of this origin will always 
be an art of apotheosis, perhaps dithyrambic, as 
with Rubens, mocking divinely, as with Hafiz, or 
clear and kind-hearted as with Goethe, and spread- 
ing a Homeric brightness and glory over every- 
thing (in this case I speak of Apollonian art). It 
may also, however, be the tyrannical will of a 


sorely-suffering, struggling or tortured being, who 
would like to stamp his most personal, individual 
and narrow characteristics, the very idiosyn- 
crasy of his suffering, as an obligatory law and 
constraint on others; who, as it were, takes 
revenge on all things, in that he imprints, enforces 
and brands his image, the image of his torture, 
upon them. The latter is romantic pessimism in 
its most extreme form, whether it be as Schopen- 
hauerian will-philosophy, or as Wagnerian music : — 
romantic pessimism, the last great event in the 
destiny of our civilisation. (That there may be 
quite a different kind of pessimism, a classical 
pessimism — this presentiment and vision belongs 
to me, as something inseparable from me, as my 
proprium and ipsissimum ; only that the word 
" classical " is repugnant to my ears, it has become 
far too worn, too indefinite and indistinguish- 
able. I call that pessimism of the future, — for it 
is coming ! I see it coming ! — Dionysian pessimism.) 

We Unintelligible Ones. — Have we ever com- 
plained among ourselves of being misunderstood, 
misjudged, and confounded with others ; of being 
calumniated, misheard, and not heard ? That is just 
our lot — alas, for a long time yet ! say, to be modest, 
until 1901 — , it is also our distinction ; we should not 
have sufficient respect for ourselves if we wished 
it otherwise. People confound us with others — 
the reason of it is that we ourselves grow, we 
change continually, we cast off old bark, we still 
slough every spring, we always become younger, 


higher, stronger, as men of the future, we thrust 
our roots always more powerfully into the deep— 
into evil—, while at the same time we embrace 
the heavens ever more lovingly, more extensively, 
and suck in their light ever more eagerly with 
all our branches and leaves. We grow like trees 
—that is difficult to understand, like all life !— not 
in one place, but everywhere, not in one direction 
only, but upwards and outwards, as well as inwards 
and downwards. At the same time our force 
shoots forth in stem, branches, and roots ; we are 
really no longer free to do anything separately, or 
to be anything separately. . . . Such is our lot, as 
we have said : we grow in height; and even should 
it be our calamity — for we dwell ever closer to 
the lightning !— well, we honour it none the less 
on that account ; it is that which we do not wish 
to share with others, which we do not wish to 
bestow upon others, the fate of all elevation, our 
fate. . . . 

Why we are not Idealists.— Formerly philosophers 
were afraid of the senses : have we, perhaps, been 
far too forgetful of this fear? We are at present 
all of us sensualists, we representatives of the 
present and of the future in philosophy,— «^/ 
according to theory, however, but in praxis, in 
practice. . . . Those former philosophers, on the 
contrary, thought that the senses lured them out 
of their world, the cold realm of "ideas," to a dan- 
gerous southern island, where they were afraid that 
their philosopher-virtues would melt away like snow 
in the sun. " Wax in the ears,'' was then almost a 


condition of philosophising ; a genuine philosopher 
no longer listened to life, in so far as life is music, 
he denied the music of life — it is an old philoso- 
phical superstition that all music is Sirens' music. — 
Now we should be inclined at the present day to 
judge precisely in the opposite manner (which in 
itself might be just as false), and to regard ideas, 
with their cold, anaemic appearance, and not even 
in spite of this appearance, as worse seducers 
than the senses. They have always lived on the 
" blood " of the philosopher, they always consumed 
his senses, and indeed, if you will believe me, 
his " heart " as well. Those old philosophers were 
heartless: philosophising was always a species of 
vampirism. At the sight of such figures even as 
Spinoza, do you not feel a profoundly enigma- 
tical and disquieting sort of impression ? Do you 
not see the drama which is here performed, the 
constantly increasing pallor — , the spiritualisation 
always more ideally displayed? Do you not 
imagine some long-concealed blood-sucker in the 
background, which makes its beginning with the 
senses, and in the end retains or leaves behind 
nothing but bones and their rattling ? — I mean 
categories, formulae, and words (for you will pardon 
me in saying that what remains Oii Spinoza, amor 
intellectualis dei, is rattling and nothing more! 
What is amor, what is deus, when they have lost 
every drop of blood ? . . .) In summa : all philo- 
sophical idealism has hitherto been something like 
a disease, where it has not been, as in the case of 
Plato, the prudence of superabundant and danger- 
ous healthfulness, the fear of overpowerful senses, 


sound to require Plato's idealism ? And we a 
fear the senses because 

« C^V^.." as Prejudice.-\t follows froni the 

and desire mat uimg u^r.po are too soon 

.„. -^ « -^' l^:r Vof exl le>at which 
quieted and set at rest, r „^^. Spencer, 

makes the Pedantic EnghshmanHertert^p , 

so enthusiastic in h,s way and ^^^ 

draw a ""^^f !>°P%%^°" °^ and altruism" of 
'".^\Te"dtr-:that1lmo" causes nausea to 
which he dreams ^ . ^ ^ Spencenan 

people hke us :--a humanity ^^^ ^^^^^ ^^^^ 

rurSv'g of cttemp' of eKtermination ! 
" But the /^that something has to be taken by 

r- 1,;. highest hope, which is regarded, and 

h.m as h s highest np , ^^^^j^ ^ ^ 

may well be "[ega^dea, oy interrogation 

distasteful possibility, is a no ... u is 

which Spencer ^^IX^^^,^':::^ at present 
'"'' *' Taleriitt natal-scientists are content, 
TbeKt^o^which is supposed to have its 


equivalent and measure in human thinking and 
human valuations, a " world of truth " at which we 
might be able ultimately to arrive with the help 
of our insignificant, four-cornered human reason ! 
What? do we actually wish to have existence 
debased in that fashion to a ready-reckoner 
exercise and calculation for stay-at-home mathe- 
maticians? We should not, above all, seek to 
divest existence of its ambiguous character: good 
taste forbids it, gentlemen, the taste of reverence 
for everything that goes beyond your horizon ! 
That a world-interpretation is alone right by which 
you maintain your position, by which investigation 
and work can go on scientifically in your sense 
(you really mean mechanically?), an interpretation 
which acknowledges numbering, calculating, weigh- 
ing, seeing and handling, and nothing more — such 
an idea is a piece of grossness and naivety, pro- 
vided it is not lunacy and idiocy. Would the 
reverse not be quite probable, that the most super- 
ficial and external characters of existence — its most 
apparent quality, its outside, its embodiment — 
should let themselves be apprehended first? per- 
haps alone allow themselves to be apprehended ? 
A " scientific " interpretation of the world as you 
understand it might consequently still be one of 
the stupidest, that is to say, the most destitute 
of significance, of all possible world-interpreta- 
tions : — I say this in confidence to my friends the 
Mechanicians, who to-day like to hobnob with 
philosophers, and absolutely believe that mechanics 
is the teaching of the first and last laws upon which, 
as upon a ground-floor, all existence must be 


built. But an essentially mechanical world would 
be an essentially meaningless world ! Supposing we 
valued the worth of a music with reference to how 
much it could be counted, calculated, or formulated 
— how absurd such a " scientific " estimate of music 
would be ! What would one have apprehended, 
understood, or discerned in it ! Nothing, absolutely 
nothing of what is really " music " in it ! . . . 

Our nezv '^ Infim'te." — How far the perspective 
character of existence extends, or whether it have 
any other character at all, whether an existence 
without explanation, without "sense" does not 
just become "nonsense," whether, on the other 
hand, all existence is not essentially an explaining 
existence — these questions, as is right and proper, 
cannot be determined even by the most diligent 
and severely conscientious analysis and self- 
examination of the intellect, because in this 
analysis the human intellect cannot avoid seeing 
itself in its perspective forms, and only in them. 
We cannot see round our corner : it is hopeless 
curiosity to want to know what other modes of 
intellect and perspective there might be : for 
example, whether any kind of being could perceive 
time backwards, or alternately forwards and back- 
wards (by which another direction of life and another 
conception of cause and effect would be given). 
But I think that we are to-day at least far from 
the ludicrous immodesty of decreeing from our 
nook that there can only be legitimate perspectives 
from that nook. The world, on the contrary, has 


once more become " infinite " to us : in so far we 
cannot dismiss the possibility that it contains 
infinite interpretations. Once more the great horror 
seizes us — but who would desire forthwith to deify 
once more this monster of an unknown world in 
the old fashion ? And perhaps worship the unknown 
thing as the "unknown person" in future? Ah! 
there are too many ungodly possibilities of inter- 
pretation comprised in this unknown, too much 
devilment, stupidity and folly of interpretation, — 
our own human, all too human interpretation 
itself, which we know. . . . 

Why we Seem to be Epicureans. — We are cautious, 
we modern men, with regard to final convictions, 
our distrust lies in wait for the enchantments and 
tricks of conscience involved in every strong 
belief, in every absolute Yea and Nay : how is this 
explained? Perhaps one may see in it a good 
deal of the caution of the "burnt child," of the 
disillusioned idealist ; but one may also see in it 
another and better element, the joyful curiosity 
of a former lingerer in a corner, who has 
been brought to despair by his nook, and now 
luxuriates and revels in its antithesis, in the un- 
bounded, in the "open air in itself" Thus there 
is developed an almost Epicurean inclination for 
knowledge, which does not readily lose sight of 
the questionable character of things; likewise 
also a repugnance to pompous moral phrases and 
attitudes, a taste that repudiates all coarse, square 
contrasts, and is proudly conscious of its habitual 


reserve. For this too constitutes our pride, this 
easy tightening of the reins in our headlong im- 
pulse after certainty, this self-control of the rider in 
his most furious riding : for now, as of old, we have 
mad, fiery steeds under us, and if we delay, it is 
certainly least of all the danger which causes us 
to delay. . . . 

Our Slow Periods.— It is thus that artists feel, 
and all men of "works," the maternal species of 
men : they always believe at every chapter of their 
life— a work always makes a chapter— that they 
have now reached the goal itself; they would 
always patiently accept death with the feeling : 
"we are ripe for it." This is not the expression 
of exhaustion,-but rather that of a certain 
autumnal sunniness and mildness, which the work 
itself, the maturing of the work, always leaves 
behind in its originator. Then the tempo of life 
slows down— turns thick and flows with honey— mto 
long pauses, into the belief in the long pause 

We Homeless Ones.—hmong the Europeans of 
to-day there are not lacking those who may call 
themselves homeless ones in a way which is at once 
a distinction and an honour ; it is by them that my 
secret wisdom and gaya scienza is especially to be 
laid to heart ! For their lot is hard, their hope un- 
certain ; it is a clever feat to devise consolation for 
them. But what good does it do! We children of 
the future, how could ^^ be at home in the present ? 


We are unfavourable to all ideals which could 
make us feel at home in this frail, broken-down, 
transition period ; and as regards the " realities " 
thereof, we do not believe in their endurance. The 
ice which still carries has become very thin : the 
thawing wind blows ; we ourselves, the homeless 
ones, are an agency that breaks the ice, and the 
other too thin "realities." ... We "preserve" 
nothing, nor would we return to any past age ; we 
are not at all " liberal," we do not labour for " pro- 
gress," we do not need first to stop our ears to 
the song of the market-place and the sirens of 
the future— their song of "equal rights," "free 
society," "no longer either lords or slaves," does 
not allure us ! We do not by any means think it 
desirable that the kingdom of righteousness and 
peace should be established on earth (because 
under any circumstances it would be the 
kingdom of the profoundest mediocrity and 
Chinaism); we rejoice in all men, who like our- 
selves love danger, war and adventure, who do 
not make compromises, nor let themselves 
be captured, conciliated and stunted; we count 
ourselves among the conquerors ; we ponder over 
the need of a new order of things, even of a new 
slavery — for every strengthening and elevation of the 
type " man " also involves a new form of slavery. 
Is it not obvious that with all this we must feel ill 
at ease in an age which claims the honour of being 
the most humane, gentle and just that the sun has 
ever seen ? What a pity that at the mere mention 
of these fine words, the thoughts at the bottom 
of our hearts are all the more unpleasant, that we 


see therein only the expression— or the masquerade 
—of profound weakening, exhaustion, age, and de- 
clining power ! What can it matter to us with what 
kind of tinsel an invalid decks out his weakness ? 
He may parade it as his virtue; there is no doubt 
whatever that weakness makes people gentle, alas, 
so gentle, so just, so inoffensive, so " humane " !— 
The " religion of pity," to which people would like 
to persuade us— yes, we know sufficiently well the 
hysterical little men and women who need this 
religion at present as a cloak and adornment! 
We are no humanitarians ; we should not dare to 
speak of our " love of mankind " ; for that, a person 
of our stamp is not enough of an actor ! Or not 
sufficiently Saint-Simonist, not sufficiently French. 
A person must have been affected with a Gallic 
excess of erotic susceptibility and amorous im- 
patience even to approach mankind honourably 
with his lewdness. . . . Mankind! Was there 
ever a more hideous old woman among all old 
women (unless perhaps it were "the Truth": a 
question for philosophers)? No, we do not love 
Mankind ! On the other hand, however, we are not 
nearly « German " enough (in the sense in which the 
word « German " is current at present) to advocate 
nationalism and race-hatred, or take delight in the 
national heart-itch and blood-poisoning, on account 
of which the nations of Europe are at present 
bounded off and secluded from one another as if 
by quarantines. We are too unprejudiced for that, 
too perverse, too fastidious ; also too well-informed,' 
and too much " travelled." We prefer much rather 
to live on mountains, apart and "out of season," in 


past or coming centuries, in order merely to spare 
ourselves the silent rage to which we know we 
should be condemned as witnesses of a system of 
politics which makes the German nation barren 
by making it vain, and which is a petty 
system besides: — will it not be necessary for 
this system to plant itself between two mortal 
hatreds, lest its own creation should immedi- 
ately collapse? Will it not be obliged to desire 
the perpetuation of the petty-state system of 
Europe? . . . We homeless ones are too diverse 
and mixed in race and descent for "modern 
men," and are consequently little tempted to 
participate in the falsified racial self-admiration 
and lewdness which at present display themselves 
in Germany, as signs of German sentiment, and 
which strike one as doubly false and unbecoming 
in the people with the " historical sense." We are, 
in a word — and it shall be our word of honour ! — 
good Europeans^ the heirs of Europe, the rich, 
over-wealthy heirs, but too deeply obligated heirs 
of millenniums of European thought. As such, 
we have also outgrown Christianity, and are 
disinclined to it — and just because we have 
grown out of it, because our forefathers were 
Christians uncompromising in their Christian in- 
tegrity, who willingly sacrificed possessions and 
positions, blood and country, for the sake of their 
belief We — do the same. For what, then ? For 
our unbelief? For all sorts of unbelief? Nay, you 
know better than that, my friends! The hidden 
Yea in you is stronger than all the Nays and 
Perhapses, of which you and your age are sick ; 


and when you are obliged to put out to sea, you 
emigrants, it is — once more a faith which urges 
you thereto ! . . , 


" And once more Grow Clear." — We, the generous 
and rich in spirit, who stand at the sides of the 
streets like open fountains and would hinder no 1 

one from drinking from us : we do not know, 
alas ! how to defend ourselves when we should 
like to do so ; we have no means of preventing 
ourselves being made turbid and dark, — we have 
no means of preventing the age in which we live 
casting its " up-to-date rubbish " into us, or of 
hindering filthy birds throwing their excrement, 
the boys their trash, and fatigued resting travellers 
their misery, great and small, into us. But we 
do as we have always done : we take whatever 
is cast into us down into our depths — for we 
are deep, we do not forget — and once more grow 
clear. . . . 

The Foots Interruption. — It is not a misanthrope 
who has written this book : the hatred of men costs 
too dear to-day. To hate as they formerly hated 
man, in the fashion of Timon, completely, without 
qualification, with all the heart, from the pure love 
of hatred — for that purpose one would have to 
renounce contempt : — and how much refined 
pleasure, how much patience, how much bene- 
volence even, do we owe to contempt ! Moreover 
we are thereby the " elect of God " : refined con- 
tempt is our taste and privilege, our art, our virtue 


perhaps, we, the most modern amongst the 
moderns ! . . . Hatred, on the contrary, makes 
equal, it puts men face to face, in hatred there is 
honour ; finally, in hatred there is fear, quite a 
large amount of fear. We fearless ones, however, 
we, the most intellectual men of the period, 
know our advantage well enough to live without 
fear as the most intellectual persons of this age. 
People will not easily behead us, shut us up, 
or banish us ; they will not even ban or burn 
our books. The age loves intellect, it loves us, 
and needs us, even when we have to give it to 
understand that we are artists in despising ; that 
all intercourse with men is something of a horror 
to us ; that with all our gentleness, patience, 
humanity and courteousness, we cannot persuade 
our nose to abandon its prejudice against the 
proximity of man ; that we love nature the more, 
the less humanly things are done by her, and 
that we love art when it is the flight of the artist 
from man, or the raillery of the artist at man, or the 
raillery of the artist at himself. . . . 

" 77^!^ Wanderer " Speaks. — In order for once to 
get a glimpse of our European morality from a 
distance, in order to compare it with other earlier 
or future moralities, one must do as the traveller 
who wants to know the height of the towers of 
a city: for that purpose he /eaves the city. 
"Thoughts concerning moral prejudices," if they 
are not to be prejudices concerning prejudices, 
presuppose a position outside of morality, some 


sort of world beyond good and evil, to which 
one must ascend, climb, or fly — and in the given 
case at any rate, a position beyond our good and 
evil, an emancipation from all " Europe," under- 
stood as a sum of inviolable valuations which have 
become part and parcel of our flesh and blood. 
That one does want to get outside, or aloft, 
is perhaps a sort of madness, a peculiar, un- 
reasonable " thou must " — for even we thinkers 
have our idiosyncrasies of "unfree will" — : the 
question is whether one can really get there. That 
may depend on manifold conditions : in the main 
it is a question of how light or how heavy we 
are, the problem of our "specific gravity." One 
must be very light in order to impel one's will to 
knowledge to such a distance, and as it were beyond 
one's age, in order to create eyes for oneself for the 
survey of millenniums, and a pure heaven in these 
eyes besides ! One must have freed oneself from 
many things by which we Europeans of to-day are 
oppressed, hindered, held down, and made heavy. 
The man of such a " Beyond," who wants to get 
even in sight of the highest standards of worth of 
his age, must first of all "surmount" this age in him- 
self — it is the test of his power — and consequently 
not only his age, but also his past aversion and 
opposition to his age, his suffering caused by his 
age, his unseasonableness, his Romanticism. . . . 

The Question of Intelligibility. — One not only 
wants to be understood when one writes, but also 
— quite as certainly — not to be understood. It is 


by no means an objection to a book when someone 
finds it unintelligible : perhaps this might just have 
been the intention of its author, — perhaps he did 
not want to be understood by "anyone." A 
distinguished intellect and taste, when it wants to 
communicate its thoughts, always selects its hearers; 
by selecting them, it at the same time closes its 
barriers against " the others." It is there that all 
the more refined laws of style have their origin : 
they at the same time keep off, they create distance, 
they prevent "access" (intelligibility, as we have 
said,) — while they open the ears of those who 
are acoustically related to them. And to say it 
between ourselves and with reference to my own 
case, — I do not desire that either my ignorance, or 
the vivacity of my temperament, should prevent me 
being understood by you, my friends : I certainly 
do not desire that my vivacity should have that 
effect, however much it may impel me to arrive 
quickly at an object, in order to arrive at it at all. 
For I think it is best to do with profound problems 
as with a cold bath — quickly in, quickly out. That 
one does not thereby get into the depths, that one 
does not get deep enough down — is a superstition 
of the hydrophobic, the enemies of cold water ; they 
speak without experience. Oh ! the great cold 
makes one quick ! — And let me ask by the way : 
Is it a fact that a thing has been misunderstood 
and unrecognised when it has only been touched 
upon in passing, glanced at, flashed at? Must 
one absolutely sit upon it in the first place? 
Must one have brooded on it as on an &^^ ? Diu 
noctuque incubando, as Newton said of himself? At 


least there are truths of a peculiar shyness and 
ticklishness which one can only get hold of suddenly, 
and in no other way, — which one must either take 
by surprise, or leave alone. . . . Finally, my brevity 
has still another value : on those questions which 
pre-occupy me, I must say a great deal briefly, in 
order that it may be heard yet more briefly. For 
as immoralist, one has to take care lest one ruins 
innocence, I mean the asses and old maids of both 
sexes, who get nothing from life but their in- 
nocence ; moreover my writings are meant to fill 
them with enthusiasm, to elevate them, to encourage 
them in virtue. I should be at a loss to know of 
anything more amusing than to see enthusiastic 
old asses and maids moved by the sweet feelings 
of virtue: and "that have I seen"— spake Zara- 
thustra. So much with respect to brevity; the 
matter stands worse as regards my ignorance, of 
which I make no secret to myself. There are hours 
in which I am ashamed of it ; to be sure there are 
likewise hours in which I am ashamed of this 
shame. Perhaps we philosophers, all of us, are 
badly placed at present with regard to knowledge : 
science is growing, the most learned of us are on 
the point of discovering that we know too little. 

But it would be worse still if it were otherwise, 

if we knew too much ; our duty is and remains 
first of all, not to get into confusion about 
ourselves. We are different from the learned; 
although it cannot be denied that amongst other 
things we are also learned. We have different 
needs, a different growth, a different digestion : we 
need more, we need also less. There is no formula 


as to how much an intellect needs for its nourish- 
ment ; if, however, its taste be in the direction of 
independence, rapid coming and going, travelling, 
and perhaps adventure for which only the swiftest 
are qualified, it prefers rather to live free on poor 
fare, than to be unfree and plethoric. Not fat, but 
the greatest suppleness and power is what a good 
dancer wishes from his nourishment, — and I know 
not what the spirit of a philosopher would like 
better than to be a good dancer. For the dance 
is his ideal, and also his art, in the end likewise his 
sole piety, his " divine service." . , , 

Great Healthiness. — We, the new, the name- 
less, the hard-to-understand, we firstlings of a yet 
untried future — we require for a new end also a 
new means, namely, a new healthiness, stronger, 
sharper, tougher, bolder and merrier than any 
healthiness hitherto. He whose soul longs to ex- 
perience the whole range of hitherto recognised 
values and desirabilities, and to circumnavigate all 
the coasts of this ideal " Mediterranean Sea," who, 
from the adventures of his most personal experience, 
wants to know how it feels to be a conqueror and 
discoverer of the ideal — as likewise how it is with 
the artist, the saint, the legislator, the sage, the 
scholar, the devotee, the prophet, and the godly 
Nonconformist of the old style: — requires one 
thing above all for that purpose, great healthiness — 
such healthiness as one not only possesses, but 
also constantly acquires and must acquire, because 
one continually sacrifices it again, and must sacri- 


fice it ! — And now, after having been long on the 
way in this fashion, we Argonauts of the ideal, who 
are more courageous perhaps than prudent, and often 
enough shipwrecked and brought to grief, neverthe- 
less, as said above, healthier than people would 
like to admit, dangerously healthy, always healthy 
again, — it would seem, as if in recompense for it 
all, that we have a still undiscovered country before 
us, the boundaries of which no one has yet seen, 
a beyond to all countries and corners of the 
ideal known hitherto, a world so over-rich in the 
beautiful, the strange, the questionable, the frightful, 
and the divine, that our curiosity as well as our 
thirst for possession thereof, have got out of hand — 
alas ! that nothing will now any longer satisfy us ! 
How could we still be content with Ike man of 
the present day after such peeps, and with such a 
craving in our conscience and consciousness? 
What a pity ; but it is unavoidable that we should 
look on the worthiest aims and hopes of the man 
of the present day with ill-concealed amusement, 
and perhaps should no longer look at them. 
Another ideal runs on before us, a strange, tempting 
ideal, full of danger, to which we should not like 
to persuade any one, because we do not so readily 
acknowledge any one's right thereto: the ideal 
of a spirit who plays naively (that is to say 
involuntarily and from overflowing abundance and 
power) with everything that has hitherto been 
called holy, good, inviolable, divine ; to whom the 
loftiest conception which the people have reason- 
ably made their measure of value, would already 
imply danger, ruin, abasement, or at least relaxation, 


blindness, or temporary self-forgetfulness ; the ideal 
of a humanly superhuman welfare and benevolence, 
which may often enough appear inhuman, for 
example, when put by the side of all past serious- 
ness on earth, and in comparison with all past 
solemnities in bearing, word, tone, look, morality 
and pursuit, as their truest involuntary parody, — 
but with which, nevertheless, perhaps the great 
seriousness only commences, the proper interroga- 
tion mark is set up, the fate of the soul changes, 
the hour-hand moves, and tragedy begins. . . . 

Epilogue. — But while I slowly, slowly finish the 
painting of this sombre interrogation-mark, and am 
still inclined to remind my readers of the virtues of 
right reading — oh, what forgotten and unknown 
virtues — it comes to pass that the wickedest, 
merriest, gnome-like laughter resounds around me : 
the spirits of my book themselves pounce upon me, 
pull me by the ears, and call me to order. " We 
cannot endure it any longer," they shout to me, 
"away, away with this raven-black music. Is it 
not clear morning round about us ? And green, soft 
ground and turf, the domain of the dance ? Was 
there ever a better hour in which to be joyful? 
Who will sing us a song, a morning song, so sunny, 
so light and so fledged that it will not scare the 
tantrums, — but will rather invite them to take part 
in the singing and dancing. And better a simple 
rustic bagpipe than such weird sounds, such toad- 
croakings, grave-voices and marmot-pipings, with 
which you have hitherto regaled us in your wilder- 


ness, Mr Anchorite and Musician of the Future ! 
No ! Not such tones ! But let us strike up some- 
thing more agreeable and more joyful!" — You 
would like to have it so, my impatient friends? 
Well! Who would not willingly accede to your 
wishes? My bagpipe is waiting, and my voice 
also— it may sound a little hoarse ; take it as it is ! 
don't forget we are in the mountains ! But what 
you will hear is at least new ; and if you do not 
understand it, if you misunderstand the minstrel, 
what does it matter ! That— has always been " The 
Minstrel's Curse." * So much the more distinctly 
can you hear his music and melody, so much the 
better also can you— dance to his piping. Would 
you like to do that? . . . 

* Title of the well-known poem of Uhland.— Tr. 





" The Undecaying " 
Is but thy label, 
God the betraying 
Is poets' fable. 

Our aims all are thwarted 
By the World-wheel's blind roll : 
" Doom," says the downhearted, 
" Sport," says the fool. 

The World-sport, all-ruling, 
Mingles false with true : 
The Eternally Fooling 
Makes us play, too ! 

* This poem is a parody of the " Chorus Mysticus " which 
concludes the second part of Goethe's "Faust." Bayard 
Taylor's translation of the passage in "Faust" runs as 
follows : — 

" All things transitory 

But as symbols are sent, 

Earth's insufficiency 

Here grows to Event : 

The Indescribable 

Here it is done : 

The Woman-Soul leadeth us 

Upward and on ! " 




As 'neath a shady tree I sat 

After long toil to take my pleasure, 
I heard a tapping " pit-a-pat " 

Beat prettily in rhythmic measure. 
Tho' first I scowled, my face set hard, 

The sound at length my sense entrapping 
Forced me to speak like any bard. 

And keep true time unto the tapping. 

As I made verses, never stopping, 

Each syllable the bird went after. 
Keeping in time with dainty hopping ! 

I burst into unmeasured laughter ! 
What, you a poet ? You a poet ? 

Can your brains truly so addled be ? 
" Yes, yes, good sir, you are a poet," 

Chirped out the pecker, mocking me. 

What doth me to these woods entice ? 

The chance to give some thief a trouncing ? 
A saw, an image ? Ha, in a trice 

My rhyme is on it, swiftly pouncing ! 
All things that creep or crawl the poet 

Weaves in his word-loom cunningly. 
" Yes, yes, good sir, you are a poet," 

Chirped out the pecker, mocking me. 

Like to an arrow, methinks, a verse is, 
See how it quivers, pricks and smarts 

When shot full straight (no tender mercies !) 
Into the reptile's nobler parts ! 


Wretches, you die at the hand of the poet, 
Or stagger like men that have drunk too free. 

" Yes, yes, good sir, you are a poet," 
Chirped out the pecker, mocking me. 

So they go hurrying, stanzas malign. 

Drunken words — what a clattering, banging ! — 
Till the whole company, line on line, 

All on the rhythmic chain are hanging. 
Has he really a cruel heart, your poet ? 

Are there fiends who rejoice, the slaughter 
to see ? 
*' Yes, yes, good sir, you are a poet," 

Chirped out the pecker, mocking me. 

So you jest at me, bird, with your scornful 
graces ? 

So sore indeed is the plight of my head ? 
And my heart, you say, in yet sorrier case is ? 

Beware ! for my wrath is a thing to dread ! 
Yet e'en in the hour of his wrath the poet 

Rhymes you and sings with the selfsame glee. 
" Yes, yes, good sir, you are a poet," 

Chirped out the pecker, mocking me. 


I swing on a bough, and rest 
My tired limbs in a nest, 
In the rocking home of a bird, 
Wherein I perch as his guest, 
In the South ! 

* Translated by Miss M. D. Petre. Inserted by per- 
mission of the editor of the Nation^ in which it appeared 
on April 17, 1909. 


I gaze on the ocean asleep, 
On the purple sail of a boat ; 
On the harbour and tower steep, 
On the rocks that stand out of the deep, 
In the South ! 

For I could no longer stay, 
To crawl in slow German way ; 
So I called to the birds, bade the wind 
Lift me up and bear me away 
To the South ! 

No reasons for me, if you please ; 
Their end is too dull and too plain ; 
But a pair of wings and a breeze, 
With courage and health and ease, 
And games that chase disease 
From the South ! 

Wise thoughts can move without sound. 
But I've songs that I can't sing alone ; 
So birdies, pray gather around. 
And listen to what I have found 
In the South ! 

" You are merry lovers and false and gay, 
" In frolics and sport you pass the day ; 
" Whilst in the North, I shudder to say, 
" I worshipped a woman, hideous and gray, 
" Her name was Truth, so I heard them say, 
" But I left her there and I flew away 
" To the South ! " 



While beauty in my face is, 

Be piety my care, 
For God, you know, loves lasses, 

And, more than all, the fair. 
And if yon hapless monkling 

Is fain with me to live, 
Like many another monkling, 

God surely will forgive. 

No grey old priestly devil, 

But, young, with cheeks aflame- 
Who e'en when sick with revel, 

Can jealous be and blame. 
To greybeards I'm a stranger, 

And he, too, hates the old : 
Of God, the world-arranger, 

The wisdom here behold ! 

The Church has ken of living. 

And tests by heart and face. 
To me she'll be forgiving ! 

Who will not show me grace ? 
I lisp with pretty halting, 

I curtsey, bid " good day," 
And with the fresh defaulting 

I wash the old away ! 

Praise be this man-God's guerdon. 

Who loves all maidens fair, 
And his own heart can pardon 

The sin he planted there. 


While beauty in my face is, 

With piety I'll stand, 
When age has killed my graces, 

Let Satan claim my hand ! 


Yester-eve, when all things slept — 
Scarce a breeze to stir the lane — 

I a restless vigil kept, 

Nor from pillows sleep could gain, 

Nor from poppies nor — most sure 

Of opiates — a conscience pure. 

Thoughts of rest I 'gan forswear, 
Rose and walked along the strand. 

Found, in warm and moonlit air, 
Man and boat upon the sand, 

Drowsy both, and drowsily 

Did the boat put out to sea. 

Passed an hour or two perchance, 
Or a year ? then thought and sense 

Vanished in the engulfing trance 
Of a vast Indifference. 

Fathomless, abysses dread 

Opened — then the vision fled. 

Morning came : becalmed, the boat 
Rested on the purple flood : 

" What had happened ? " every throat 
Shrieked the question : " was there- 
Blood ? " 

Naught had happened ! On the swell 

We had slumbered, oh, so well ! 


{during which^ however^ the poet fell into a pit). 

Oh marvel ! there he flies 
Cleaving the sky with wings unmoved — what force 

Impels him, bids him rise, 
What curb restrains him? Where's his goal, his 
course ? 

Like stars and time eterne 
He liveth now in heights that life forswore, 

Nor envy's self doth spurn : 
A lofty flight were't, e'en to see him soar ! 

Oh albatross, great bird, 
Speeding me upward ever through the blue ! 

I thought of her, was stirred 
To tears unending — yea, I love her true ! 


Here I lie, my bowels sore. 

Hosts of bugs advancing. 
Yonder lights and romp and roar ! 

What's that sound ? They're dancing ! 

At this instant, so she prated, 

Stealthily she'd meet me : 
Like a faithful dog I've waited, 

Not a sign to greet me ! 

She promised, made the cross-sign, too. 

Could her vows be hollow ? 
Or runs she after all that woo. 

Like the goats I follow ? 


Whence your silken gown, my maid ? 

Ah, you'd fain be haughty, 
Yet perchance you've proved a jade 

With some satyr naughty ! 

Waiting long, the lovelorn wight 

Is filled with rage and poison : 
Even so on sultry night 

Toadstools grow in foison. 

Pinching sore, in devil's mood, 

Love doth plague my crupper : 
Truly I can eat no food : 

Farewell, onion-supper ! 

Seaward sinks the moon away, 
The stars are wan, and flare not : 

Dawn approaches, gloomy, grey. 
Let Death come ! I care not ! 


Souls that lack determination 

Rouse my wrath to white-hot flame ! 

All their glory's but vexation, 

All their praise but self-contempt and shame ! 

Since I baffle their advances. 

Will not clutch their leading-string. 

They would wither me with glances 
Bitter-sweet, with hopeless envy sting. 

Let them with fell curses shiver. 

Curl their lip the livelong day ! 
Seek me as they will, forever 

Helplessly their eyes shall go astray ! 



Ah, what I wrote on board and wall 
With foolish heart, in foolish scrawl, 
I meant but for their decoration ! 

Yet say you, " Fools' abomination ! 
Both board and wall require purgation, 
And let no trace our eyes appal ! " 

Well, I will help you, as I can. 

For sponge and broom are my vocation. 

As critic and as waterman. 

But when the finished work I scan, 
I'm glad to see each learned owl 
With " wisdom " board and wall defoul. 


{or a Consolation to Sick Poets). 

From thy moist lips, 
O Time, thou witch, beslavering me, 
Hour upon hour too slowly drips 
In vain — I cry, in frenzy's fit, 
" A curse upon that yawning pit, 
A curse upon Eternity ! " 

The world's of brass, 
A fiery bullock, deaf to wail ; 
Pain's dagger pierces my cuirass, 
Winged, and writes upon my bone : 
" Bowels and heart the world hath none. 
Why scourge her sins with anger's flail ? ' 


Pour poppies now, 
Pour venom, Fever, on my brain ! 
Too long you test my hand and brow : 
What ask you ? " What — reward is paid ? " 
A malediction on you, jade. 
And your disdain ! 

No, I retract, 
'Tis cold — I hear the rain importune — 
Fever, I'll soften, show my tact : 
Here's gold — a coin — see it gleam ! 
Shall I with blessings on you beam, 
Call you " good fortune " ? 

The door opes wide. 
And raindrops on my bed are scattered. 
The light's blown out — woes multiplied ! 
He that hath not an hundred rhymes, 
I'll wager, in these dolorous times 
We'd see him shattered ! 


Once more, St Mark, thy pigeons meet my gaze. 

The Square lies still, in slumbering morning mood : 
In soft, cool air I fashion idle lays. 
Speeding them skyward like a pigeon's brood : 
And then recall my minions 
To tie fresh rhymes upon their willing pinions. 
My bliss ! My bliss ! 

Calm heavenly roof of azure silkiness, 

Guarding with shimmering haze yon house divine! 
Thee, house, I love, fear — envy, I'll confess, 


And gladly would suck out that soul of thine ! 
" Should I give back the prize ? " 
Ask not, great pasture-ground for human eyes ! 
My bliss ! My bliss ! 

Stern belfry, rising as with lion's leap 
Sheer from the soil in easy victory. 
That fill'st the Square with peal resounding, deep, 
Wert thou in French that Square's « accent aigu "' ? 
Were I for ages set 

In earth like thee, I know what silk-meshed net 

My bliss ! My bliss ! 

Hence, music ! First let darker shadows come, 

And grow, and merge into brown, mellow night » 
'Tis early for your pealing, ere the dome 
Sparkle in roseate glory, gold-bedight 
While yet 'tis day, there's time 
For strolling, lonely muttering, forging rhyme— 
My bliss ! My bliss I 


Thither I'll travel, that's my notion, 

I'll trust myself, my grip, 
Where opens wide and blue the ocean 

I'll ply my Genoa ship. 

New things on new the world unfolds me, 
Time, space with noonday die : 

Alone thy monstrous eye beholds me. 
Awful Infinity I 



Here sat I waiting, waiting, but for naught 1 
Beyond all good and evil — now by light wrought 

To joy, now by dark shadows — all was leisure, 
All lake, all noon, all time sans aim, sans measure. 

Then one, dear friend, was swiftly changed to twain, 
And Zarathustra left my teeming brain. . . . 


Wildly rushing, clouds outleaping, 
Care-destroying, Heaven sweeping, 

Mistral wind, thou art my friend ! 
Surely 'twas one womb did bear us, 
Surely 'twas one fate did pair us, 

Fellows for a common end. 

From the crags I gaily greet you, 
Running fast I come to meet you. 

Dancing while you pipe and sing. 
How you bound across the ocean, 
Unimpeded, free in motion, 

Swifter than with boat or wing ! 

* Translated by Miss M. D. Petre. Inserted by permis- 
sion of the editor of the Nation^ in which it appeared 
on May 15, 1909. 


Through my dreams your whistle sounded, 
Down the rocky stairs I bounded 

To the golden ocean wall ; 
Saw you hasten, swift and glorious, 
Like a river, strong, victorious. 

Tumbling in a waterfall. 

Saw you rushing over Heaven, 
With your steeds so wildly driven. 

Saw the car in which you flew ; 
Saw the lash that wheeled and quivered, 
While the hand that held it shivered, 

Urging on the steeds anew. 

Saw you from your chariot swinging. 
So that swifter downward springing 

Like an arrow you might go 
Straight into the deep abysses, 
As a sunbeam falls and kisses 

Roses in the morning glow. 

Dance, oh ! dance on all the edges. 
Wave-crests, cliffs and mountain ledges, 

Ever finding dances new ! 
Let our knowledge be our gladness, 
Let our art be sport and madness. 

All that's joyful shall be true ! 

Let us snatch from every bower, 
As we pass, the fairest flower. 

With some leaves to make a crown ; 
Then, like minstrels gaily dancing. 
Saint and witch together prancing. 

Let us foot it up and down. 


Those who come must move as quickly 
As the wind — we'll have no sickly, 

Crippled, withered, in our crew ; 
Off with hypocrites and preachers, 
Proper folk and prosy teachers, 

Sweep them from our heaven blue. 

Sweep away all sad grimaces, 
Whirl the dust into the faces 

Of the dismal sick and cold ! 
Hunt them from our breezy places. 
Not for them the wind that braces, 

But for men of visage bold. 

Off with those who spoil earth's gladness, 
Blow away all clouds of sadness, 

Till our heaven clear we see ; 
Let me hold thy hand, best fellow, 
Till my joy like tempest bellow ! 

Freest thou of spirits free ! 

When thou partest, take a token 
Of the joy thou hast awoken, 

Take our wreath and fling it far ; 
Toss it up and catch it never, 
Whirl it on before thee ever. 

Till it reach the farthest star. 











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